Portuguese Caldo Verde Soup is a rich and hearty dish with a robust smoked sausage (paio, chouriço/chourizo or Smoked Calabresa Sausage) that offers a bold comforting flavour. It is homey, satisfying, filling, and comforting.
Caldo Verde originally comes from the Minho region in northern Portugal. It is the most popular Portuguese soup and can be found from rural to luxury dinner tables in Portugal and Brazil.
Caldo Verde translates to “green broth” in English and is also referred to as Portuguese green soup. That is because it is made with “couve verde, in English collard greens. It is a particular dark green cabbage.
A popular substitute for couve verde is kale. This is a very healthy soup because both kale and collard greens are among the healthiest foods in the world since they’re nutritionally dense and loaded with many health benefits and vitamins.
There are several variations of this Portuguese sausage-greens-potato soup basic recipe. I used Paio. Most call for a Portuguese hard sausage with a strong garlic flavour called Chouriço. Other recipes use the Brazilian Smoked Calabresa Sausage. You can also substitute hard Spanish or Colombian chorizo for the Portuguese sausage.
Caldo verde tastes thick and rich without added cream or dairy. This soup is delicious on a cool fall or winter day and is a very budget-friendly recipe! In Portugal, Caldo Verde is served as an appetizer or as a light dinner. It is often accompanied by a regional dense bread called broa from northern Portugal. As a substitute, you can use artisan bread. I find it to be very satisfying, because of the sausage and potatoes, so I am usually good with a bowl of this soup for dinner! Maybe accompanied and a slice of bread such as this Focaccia or cornbread.
Make a large pot as this soup is even better the next day. The soup gets thicker when cooled. If need, add a little amount of boiled water to make it thinner.
This soup will be your family’s favourite, especially on cold winter days; however, you can enjoy it whether it is warm or cold outside.
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- 4 tbsp Olive oil - reserve some for garnish
- 1 onion - chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced – or more to taste
- 300 g Smoked sausage - I used paio, but you can also use Portuguese chouriço, Spanish chorizo or linguiça calabresa
- 6-8 cups Water - 1.5-2 litres
- 1 tbsp Chicken Broth mix
- 1 bunch Collard greens - or kale - rinsed, with the stems removed and julienned
- 1-1.5 g Potato - yellow, gold or russet - about 6-8 medium Potatoes - peeled and thinly sliced
- Salt - to taste
- Black pepper - optional to taste
- Paprika - optional to taste
- Wash the collard green - Fill your kitchen sink or a large bowl with water and let the collards soak in it for about 10 minutes. Swish them up and down and side to side to try to loosen any lingering dirt. Then rinse them off individually to double-check for any remaining sand.
- Peel the casing off the sausage.
- Cut the sausage into quarters lengthwise.
- Sauté onion, garlic and sausage - Add olive oil to Instant Pot, hit sauté add the onion into the pot, sauté until softened and translucent (do not let them get brown) for about 2 minutes, add in the garlic and sauté for another minute and throw in the sausage, cooking it until it has released most of its fat it starts to look a bit browned. The sausage fat will flavour the soup.
- Then add the potatoes, paprika, boiling water, and chicken broth mix.Note: Hold off on the final seasoning until you determine how much heat and salt your sausage adds to the mix.
- Cook - Lock the lid, make sure the valve is set to seal and program to soup (or 10 minutes in High Pressure).Note: If using a regular pot, cook for 30 minutes until potatoes are well cooked.
- Cut collard green leaves - Meanwhile, divide the collard green leaves into two stacks. Roll up each stack of leaves tightly into a cigar shape and cut them crosswise into very thin slices (as thin as possible). Reserve.
- Note: If you chop the collard green leaves and do not cut them into strips, the Portuguese would say it’s not Portuguese Caldo Verde soup.
- When the timer is done, press "Cancel" and do a quick release of pressure by carefully turning the valve on the lid to "Venting."
- Open the lid, remove the sausage, use an immersion blender to blend the soup completely.
- Note: You can also use a regular blender and blend the soup in batches.
- Thinly slice sausage and return half of the sliced sausage to the pot with the pureed soup and set aside the other half for garnish. Portuguese tradition states that the sausage slices are added to each bowl, although some chefs like to add half (or all) sausage slices to the soup before. It is your choice.
- Optional: You can boil the soup a bit using the sautéprogram if you want the broth to thicken.
- Add in the sliced collard green, give it a good stir. Bring the mixture to simmer (sauté program with no lid) and cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on your preference) until the collard is tender. Then cancel the program. Do not overcook, as the greens should be slightly crunchy.
- Check to see if it needs salt or pepper and if so, add it now.
- Serve hot. When ready to serve soup, ladle into individual bowls, give each bowl garnish with the thin slices of sausage, a light drizzle of olive oil, and crushed pepper to taste.
The creaminess of this soup varies according to tasteThe quantities here are approximate. You can add as much as potatoes you would like. I enjoy it creamy. If you like it more “soupy,” and if it gets too thick, add water to thin it out. Be sure to add in enough salt to bring out the flavours.
What is Collard?Collards are members of the cabbage family. They feature dark green leaves and tough stems that need to be removed before eating. The flavour of collards is a cross between cabbage and hearty kale, similar to Swiss chard.
Should you cut the collard into strips or chopping it?It would be best if you cut the collard greens into strips instead of chopping them. It is the traditional way. If you do not cut it into strips, it is not Caldo Verde.
Collard or curly kale?In terms of flavour and texture, kale is the closest match to collards and can be used interchangeably. If you use curly kale instead of collard, despite using a very sharp knife and the best kitchen skills, you probably will not achieve the thin kale shreds the recipe calls for, so the final result won't be quite the same, but that does not detract from the flavour of the final result.
Making a vegetarian/vegan versionTo make it vegetarian/vegan, substitute cooked butter beans or chickpeas for the sausage and add a pinch of smoked paprika.
Make-AheadSoup can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Rewarm in a large pot over medium-low heat before serving. The next day the leftovers will be a tad thicker than when you first made it, which is great if you love creamier soup, or add some water if you want to thin it out.
Fast2eat has partnered with Dubrazil to share new and simple Brazilian recipes your family will love! This recipe was prepared with the following DuBrazil product: Paio is a Portuguese (or Brazilian) smoked sausage, seasoned with garlic, salt, and Capsicum pepper and smoked. Red pepper paste is an optional addition to the recipe. It is mainly composed of pork loin, although some varieties also contain pork leg. It is a hard sausage, usually made in large diameter. Paio is cured and smoked with an intense flavour. Smoked and cures sausages should not be used for barbecue. This type of sausage is usually drier and ends up drying out even more when grilled. It is more often used in stews that require a more pronounced flavour. Thanks to DuBrazil for supplying this product to help me write this post today!
Can I use any sausage?This soup is fantastic. But I think much depends on the quality of your sausage and stock. I've made it using Smoked Paio Sausage, but Portuguese chouriço Smoked Calabresa Sausage, Spanish or Colombian chorizo, will be other good options. Portuguese sausage refers to a form of smoke-cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika. Look for hard cured sausage links, not loose ground sausage that needs to be cooked. It will be good but not the best if you use a polish sausage or kielbasa.
Portuguese ChouriçoThe chouriço is one of the most diverse sausages of Portuguese tradition. The most common varieties of chouriço come from pork meat and fat. Seasoned with red pepper paste, wine, and garlic, and left to dry and smoke for a few days or weeks. The chouriço is usually delicate and no too salty in terms of flavour, with an aromatic fat. It’s similar to Spanish/Colombian chorizo but has less paprika than its neighbour and tastes a bit smokier. The Portuguese variety tends to be hotter than the Spanish and Colombian. Calabresa is a typical sausage in Brazil. Its popularity compares with pepperoni in the United States. The name calabrese comes from the Calabria region in southeastern Italy, the origin of this sausage. The smoked calabresa sausage is one of the most striking and peppery sausages. That is why it is so popular to compose dishes, cold cuts plates, pizzas, savoury and fried foods. It also combines with bread, Brazilian farofa, rice and other garnishes. It can also be used in dishes such as Brazilian feijoada prepared in the pressure cooker, making a delicious sausage baked in the oven and an amazing sausage fried with onion. The calabrese sausage goes with everything. It is found both raw and smoked. Never use sausages that have been pre-cooked, those smoked and cured, on the barbecue. This type of sausage is usually drier and ends up drying out even more in contact with the coals or grill. Made with pork meat, it mixes approximately 90% of pork meat and 10% of bacon. In addition to salt and garlic, it has a remarkable flavour due to the Calabrian pepper, parsley and green onion used in the seasoning.
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