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!