Caldo Verde (Portuguese Potato Kale Soup)
This Caldo Verde (Potato Kale Soup) is a very hearty, traditional Portuguese soup that was served often in our home.
1 T olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 daikon radish, peeled and diced (optional)
1/4 t garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves freshly minced garlic)
5 C vegetable or chicken broth
4 medium to large russet potatoes, peeled and diced (I used eight small ones)
1 smoked ham steak
1/4-1/2 lb fresh kale (I used baby red kale)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 C additional water
In a giant soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir in the shallots and radish. Cook until softened, a few minutes.
Add the potatoes and diced up ham steak. Cover with the broth. Bring the soup to a simmer and allow to cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
While the soups cooking get the kale ready. The stem of kale is super bitter (in baby leaves it’s not as big of a deal, but I removed it anyway), and it really helps to cut the stem out of the leaf when cooking with kale (also an excellent tip for green monster makers!). Cut out the stem (or just rip it out with your bare hands!), then blanch the kale in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain the kale and run it under cool water to stop the cooking process, then roughly chop into smaller pieces.
When the potatoes are tender, give the soup a rough hand mash with a potato masher and add in the kale leaves. Technically, this soup base is supposed to be pureed and the ham/kale added afterwards. I like a little more texture, so I chose to dice the ham first (instead of cooking it in there whole, removing it, cooling it, dicing it, then pureeing the soup and adding the ham back in), cook it all together, and give it a quick mash by hand. It turned out perfectly. Add the bay leaf and simmer all together for another 20 minutes or so... add more water if necessary.