Saturday, January 28, 2012

Caldo Verde by Accident

Halfway through this recipe utilizing what I had on hand, I realized that there was something familiar about it. It wasn’t until it was finished that I realized I had made a variation of Caldo Verde, the classic Portuguese kale and potato soup. Did this happen because of a genetic predisposition to do so, or universal consciousness? There is only one recipe from our Portuguese side of the family tree, but this wasn’t it. I had only tasted Caldo Verde once on my first trip to Portugal and it had been a buried memory until now.
1 large bunch kale (6C perhaps)
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
3T extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion
3 mild Anahiem peppers
6 cloves garlic
2 porcini bouillon cubes
2oz. dried porcini mushrooms
12 qt water
3T polenta (optional)
Finely dice the onion and saute it in the olive oil over medium heat, add the diced peppers and continue sauteeing until they have wilted. Add the water and raise the heat to high so the soup boils, then add chopped kale and stir until it wilts. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
Lower the heat to a simmer and add the dried porcini mushrooms and stir. Cover the pot and start peeling and dicing the potatoes. Add them to the soup along with the bouillon. Cook until the potatoes are no longer raw. If the soup is too thin, you may add the polenta to thicken it up.
Note: In soups I generally use Yukon gold potatoes because they hold up well and don’t fall apart like a Russet. A waxy potato is best. And I often use the polenta as a thickener.

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