Caldo Verde…kinda

Posted in Main Course, Savory, Soup, Spicy, Uncategorized, Winter on Jan 07, 2010

091So, I was reading through my local newspaper, The Press Democrat, and came across an article on soups. Mmm. Soup. And in this article was a recipe from chef Manuel Azevedo, who owns a restaurant called La Salette over in Sonoma. I’d never heard of Caldo Verde, but it is apparently Portugal’s national dish, and it sounded gooooood.

I’m going to throw out a disclaimer right now – I’m apparently bad at following recipes, and what happened next was in no way a reflection on the recipe as published. In fact, I would like to go eat at La Salette to see what this soup is supposed to turn out like. But first, let me share our version:

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Here’s the players:

  • 1 quart (ie, one box) of mushroom stock (I know it’s chicken stock in the picture, but when I went back to the cupboard to get the beef stock the recipe called for, I realized I had purchased mushroom stock instead, not beef stock. Already off the rails and I haven’t even gotten warmed up yet. So, for those of you following along at home, the chicken stock was replaced by mushroom stock.)
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks (again with the off the rails – the recipe calls for 2 potatoes, but I like potatoes. Sue me.)
  • Half a yellow onion diced (which turned out to be about the 1/2 cup the original calls for)
  • One big old leak, just the white and pale green part though, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, which is way less than my usual, smashed with the flat of a knife
  • 1 link of linguica Portuguese sausage, sliced
  • Fresh parsley
  • Collard greens
  • salt to taste

(and here’s the things I didn’t have so I winged it – never a good plan, I’m discovering.)

  • fresh oregano (I subsituted dried Italian seasoning)
  • white pepper (I substituted black pepper)
  • White wine vinegar (I substituted rice wine vinegar)

Okay, so, with the help of the Chef, we peeled and washed and chopped and got things into my cast iron Not-A-Wok pan. Here’s what went in:

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The mushroom stock, the potatoes, the onion, the leeks, the garlic and the linguica. That simmered for about 30 minutes on low with the lid on it.

So, while all that was simmering, we chopped up a handful of parsley:

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Let’s all take a moment and appreciate my fake-wood countertops visible through my glass cutting board.

Okay, then I washed about 6 big collard green leaves and took the stems out and then rolled them up and sliced them as thin as I could manage:

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So, the next step involved pulling out every slice of sausage, tossing in the parsley and oregano (which I didn’t have, so I sprinkled on some Italian seasoning) and simmering for another five minutes.

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Then, you’re supposed to use an immersion blender to puree the rest. I don’t have an immersion blender, so I dumped it in the ‘Ja. Here’s where that extra potato came into play with a vengeance. Dun dun duuuuuun.

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Uh oh. That extra potato made for some super thick soup. Well, maybe it will loosen up when I put it in the pot and add the sausage and collard greens?

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Um, no. See how those greens and sausage are just sitting on top of the soup? I don’t think that’s supposed to happen. Now, it has been pointed out to me that I could have used more broth to loosen it up, but I didn’t have any more mushroom broth, and I’d already gone completely off the rails with half of this stuff, so I just left it alone and stirred hard.

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And then I added some salt and black (not white) pepper and splashed in about two teaspoons of rice wine vinegar instead of the white wine vinegar and stirred a bit more. And then I simmered for another 15 minutes and we were good to go. “Good,” that is.

At this point, I realized that getting The Boy to attempt to eat this with long stringy pieces of collard greens in it, so I scooped out a bunch of it and pureed it again in the ‘Ja. And then I threw some emergency corndogs in the oven. Because sometimes, you just need to have a backup plan.

Here’s what the kids’ portions looked like:

089 The verdict: Despite being thick enough to stand on, this was really flavorful and delicious – if you were over the age of 9. The Boy had a few spoonfuls and dipped croutons into the pot, but really he didn’t eat much. He just “didn’t like it.” Big surprise there. He did not die, and he ate a few bites, and then the corndogs were ready. It was not the wild success I was hoping for, but it was a great use for collard greens.

If I ever make this again, I’m totally going to follow the actual recipe, and have some extra broth on hand, just in case. Also? I forgot to drizzle olive oil on the finished servings. Ah well. Corndogs FTW!

And here’s my bowl:

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The Sous Chef demonstrated the crouton levitating power of the soup:

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