When the weather gets cold, we go full-on soup mode. As in we start making vats and vats of our favorite soup. Namely, Chicken Miso Soup, Tortilla Soup, Rustic Tuscan Soup and this, which is the best Sausage Kale Soup around if you ask us.
If you’re a soup connoisseur, one look at this recipe may make you think this is the classic Portuguese kale soup known as caldo verde aka “green soup.” This is and isn’t that recipe.
As in this is just a soup that we started making and it morphed over the years into something that’s not quite an Italian wedding soup, almost a minestrone, and akin to caldo verde.
Since we’re on the subject, let’s call a spade a spade and clarify what is caldo verde. It’s a soup that hails from northern Portugal and is commonly made with sausage, greens, and potatoes or beans. It’s also rumored to be an effective hangover cure though we can’t personally attest to that.
But this isn’t exactly the traditional Portuguese soup recipe. If you go to spots that are known for caldo verde like San Francisco’s Grubstake restaurant, you’ll find that caldo verde is traditionally made with a cabbage that’s hard to find stateside; the soup base is often blended; and it’s usually served with the Portuguese sausage known as linguica.
This soup recipe is super easy to make and the whole thing can be put together in less than an hour (a rarity for a soup mind you). If you wanted to make a lot at once you could easily double the recipe.
Start by browning the coins of sausage (use a spicy sausage for more heat or a sweet sausage for something more mellow) and then by slowly simmering the onions, celery, and carrot.
Once you have it all together, go ahead and let it cook as short of as long as you’d like. As is standard with soups, the flavor will develop more the longer it simmers; however, you can serve this as soon as everything is cooked through.
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plus more for garnish
sliced into 1/2-inch thick coins
plus more for garnish
such as a Sauvignon Blanc
cut into 1-inch pieces
plus cheese for garnish (optional)
stemmed and thinly sliced
Cook The Sausage: Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven or pot over medium heat.
Once the oil shimmers, brown the coins of sausage by cooking it cut side down, turning occasionally, until golden all over, about 8 minutes. Remove the browned sausage to a plate and set aside. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the oil.
Make The Soup Base: Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the celery, carrots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until the celery just starts to soften, another 3 minutes.
Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and cook until the alcohol smell is gone, about 2 minutes.
Simmer The Soup: Add the broth, diced tomatoes and their liquid, the water, potatoes, and cheese rind (if using) and bring to a boil over high heat. the potatoes, the tomatoes, their juices, and broth and bring to a boil.
Once the soup boils, reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pot then simmer the soup until the potatoes are knife tender, about 15 minutes. (You could also put the soup in a slow cooker at this point and let it cook over low for up to 8 hours.)
Always buy Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with the rind on so that 1) you know it's the authentic stuff 2) you can save the bit of rind and throw it in broths or sauces to add more flavor.
Serve The Soup: Stir the reserved sausage and the kale to the pot. Cook until the sausage is heated through and the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
Taste, adjust seasoning, grate cheese over the top, as desired. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a crank of black pepper, and serve with crusty bread.
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