Caldo Verde. The Way to Make Kale Edible

I tried really hard last year to jump on the kale chip bandwagon to no avail. I just couldn’t do it. Don’t get me wrong– I love vegetables. I’ll eat salad as long as someone else makes it for me, and if you give me any grilled or roasted vegetable (other than kale), I could eat nothing but. I’ve even learned to love onions, a food that I hated for the first 27 years of my life. Despite my dislike of kale, I was determined to find ways to enjoy it because it has so many nutritional merits. So, I refused to give up. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of Caldo Verde sooner, but one day this soup recipe struck me.

Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup that is perfect in the Fall when kale is abundant. What I love about this soup is that it is thick and creamy and yet dairy-free. The secret is the red, new potatoes and an immersion blender. When I make this soup, I can get my entire family to eat kale because it is so smooth and there is no need to chew and chew and chew the kale (one of my biggest complaints about the superfood). This soup is excellent to bring along to Thanksgiving or any other potluck function for a bunch of reasons: 1) people usually don’t think to bring soup 2) it’s quick and it feeds and army 3) it’s full of fiber and antioxidants so people gobble it up and don’t even realize that they are eating “health” food. And even if I don’t love kale, I love that.

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 pounds fresh, soy and corn syrup-free kiel basa sausage

1 spanish onion, chopped (about 1/2 pound)

1 cloves garlic

2 pounds new potatoes scrubbed and halved

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 bunch washed, stemmed and very finely shredded kale (about 6 cups)

freshly ground pepper to taste

Serve 10-12

1) In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the whole kiel basa and brown on one side for 5 minutes. Flip it and brown the other side for 5 more minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan, carefully cut it into coins. Add the onions and garlic to the sausage fat in the pan and sauté over medium-high heat. Return the sausage to the pot with the onions and garlic to cook all the way through, about another 10 minutes. The onions will be soft and translucent. Remove the sausage to a plate. When it is cool enough to handle, dice it and reserve until later.

2) Add the potatoes to the onion and garlic in the pot. Pour in the chicken stock and water. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the salt. Cook the potatoes for 12 minutes. Add the kale and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the kale is bright green and the potatoes are tender.

3) With an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. Add in the diced sausage and add fresh pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.