For Bricker: My wife's Portuguese Kale Soup recipe

Some years ago, in thread about linguica, I promised Bricker I would post my wife’s kale soup recipe. But every time she made it, she neglected to write down the recipe, as it is an oral tradition handed down from her mother’s mother, best cooked by taste and intuition.

But a couple of days ago, we got a hankerin’ for a big pot of kale soup, and I was ordained as the new keeper of the family recipe, as my wife can no longer cut the vegetables due to the effects her illness on her hands.

So I followed her instructions to the letter, and made note of the amounts, and finally have the basic recipe for Portuguese Kale Soup, the #1 comfort food among the Cape Verdeans in New Bedford, Mass. It is the perfect meal on a cold winter’s night, as it lights a warm glow in all parts of the body. The amazing thing is how simple ingredients combine to produce a rich, hearty broth that belies its humble recipe. I asked my wife if I should add this or that (like bay leaf or chicken stock), which she adamantly forbid, as any change to the recipe would be sacrilege. I cannot argue with the results, so what follows is the real thing, without any embellishments from me.

Portuguese Kale Soup

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, small dice
1lb Linguica sausage, sliced
1lb Chourice sausage, sliced
5lbs red potatoes, peeled and diced, 3/4"
2 19oz cans red kidney beans, drained
16oz fresh kale, washed and trimmed
2 cups ketchup
2 and one half quarts water (10 cups)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbs garlic powder

In a large stock pot (6 quarts or larger), sweat the onions in the olive oil on medium heat; don’t brown them. Add the sliced linguica and chourice (note: chourice, or chourico, is a Portuguese sausage, and is not the same as Mexican chorizo!), and brown slightly on medium high heat. Add the 2 1/2 quarts of water, increase the heat and bring to a boil.

When the water boils, add the ketchup and the kidney beans, and return to a simmer on medium heat, for 10 minutes. Then add the potatoes (I recommend red potatoes, as they don’t fall apart after long simmering like russets will), and simmer until the potatoes just begin to get tender, about 10 minutes. Add the fresh kale, and return to simmer. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until kale is tender.

Serve with crusty bread. The flavor really develops overnight in the refrigerator, so it is even better the next day.

Nothing takes the chill off and warms the soul like kale soup. Enjoy!

Anything with 2 cups of ketchup has to be good.

It’s been many years since I had Caldo Verde in Lisbon, but I don’t recall any sausage in it.

It’s the Cape Verde influence; everything is better with linquica.

I agree. The stuff I had was pretty lame.

I know that was for Bricker, but I want to thank you for posting that. I can’t wait until I’m back home with a pot big enough to make this…

Coincidentally, I made a big pot of beef stew yesterday. And when I was buying ingredients for it, I saw some kale on sale. So I figured I’d buy some and add it to the stew to see how it came out.

So now I’m eating the stew and I’m thinking it came out pretty good…

…but it would have been better without the kale.

Oh, this looks great!

I’m very sorry to hear of your wife’s illness, and I hope she enjoys the fact that by entrusting this process to you, she’s passing the recipie on to a Salvadoran-Dominican family that’s drooling at the mere description of this feast.

Thanks so much!

I came to love linguiça and couve by way of Brazil… will definitely give this a try. Thanks.

I have never seen chourice in my neck of the woods. What would you recommend I substitute for it?

You are welcome; when ever she made it, it reminded me I never posted it for you.

One thing I thought about after i posted the recipe; after adding the kale, it was probably 30 minutes of simmering before the kale was tender, rather than the 15 I posted. This is a soup that can stand up to long simmering, so don’t be afraid to overdo it. And the salt/pepper/garlic powder was just an estimate, trust your palate. The broth should retain just a bit of the sweetness of the ketchup, but most of the flavor comes from the sausage.

Perhaps a Louisiana Andouille sausage?


Did some long-forgotten original recipe call for some combination of tomatoes, sugar and vinegar?

Sorry if that sounded snarky - I don’t use ketchup on anything.

Emiril’s new recipe for Caldo Verde.

I know the ketchup sounds terrible, but I assure you, the results are amazing. Emeril’s recipe sounds good, but it isn’t authentic Cape Verdean kale soup if it doesn’t have the ketchup.

Sounds very similar to the caldo gallego my wife’s family makes (they are originally from Galicia.) Now I’m hungry…