Caldo Verde Soup

A couple weekends ago we escaped to Sonoma and enjoyed a night away at Ramekins Inn. This lovely property, part of the Ramekins Culinary School and Events Center, is the perfect type of property. Small enough to be considered an inn, yet not too intimate where you trip over other guests at breakfast. Our room, #5, was very large and well-appointed with a luxurious king-size bed, high-quality linens, oversized rustic furniture, and a huge bathroom with a walk-in tile shower. When we arrived we were greeted by staff and promptly served a glass of wine. We received a quick tour of the property, including the upstairs lounge that serves continental breakfast (and was within steps of our room).

That evening we ventured down the road to a lovely Portuguese restaurant, LaSalette, and had a delicious meal. On that particularly cold evening, the blaze from the wood-burning oven in the kitchen and the warmth from the Caldo Verde soup that we ordered, was the perfect way to end our day in Sonoma.

This is my version of this popular Portuguese soup. The above image is from the web, courtesy of Eating Club Vancouver. After checking the web for images, I found this one to resemble my recipe the best.

Caldo Verde

Typically, kale is used, but I had green Swiss chard on hand and used it instead. Feel free to swap greens, but understand that some are more pungent than others. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Serves 6-8.

1 linguica link (about 6 to 7 oz.) sliced thinly

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 lbs. red or white potatoes, peeled and cubed in small pieces

7 cups chicken stock

1 bunch Italian parsley, stemmed and chopped

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

4 cups finely sliced Swiss chard or Tuscan kale

1. In a large soup pot, add the linguica and olive oil and saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until sausage is lightly browned. Remove sausage slices from pot and set aside. Add garlic and onion to olive oil in pot and saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally until onion is opaque, about 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes and about 1 cup of the stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or similar type of utensil to remove the browned bits. Add remaining stock and bring to a slow boil.

2. Add parsley, red pepper flakes, paprika and thyme and stir to incorporate. Simmer soup, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove pot from stove and puree with an immersion blender. (Or, puree in a standing blender in batches; return pureed soup to pot.)

3. Add Swiss chard or kale and linguica to soup and simmer on low for about 15 minutes until greens are tender. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately.