Traditional Portuguese Cabbage Soup ~ Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde is a rustic soup originating from the Minho Province in northern Portugal. It is now considered a national dish and is popular all over the world. It is made from Collie-greens which is couvos cabbage.

Caldo Verde Soup
Caldo Verde Soup

I’ve wanted to cook Caldo Verde soup for some time so when I saw the recipe in this week’s local newspaper I decided to give it a try.

Luckily the supermarkets in Portugal sell packets of finely shredded cabbage labelled “Sopas Pronto a Cozinhar”, but to be sure this was the correct product, I asked a Portuguese woman who confirmed this would be “perfect”. She also kindly showed me the correct cabbages as an alternative should I decide to prepare it myself – I needed collard greens or kale.
I looked at the packet of neatly shredded cabbage and then at the basic option. No brainer, I plumped for the easy option.

Packet "Sopas Pronto a Cozinhar" (shredded cabbage) is far easier than preparing my own!
Packet "Sopas Pronto a Cozinhar" (shredded cabbage) is far easier than preparing my own!

I think the cabbages I’m growing in my garden are collard – mental note to check!

The other key ingredient is chouriço sausage.

Chouriço Sausage - I nearly bought the Piri Piri variety!
Chouriço Sausage - I nearly bought the Piri Piri variety!

Waiting for my turn to be served at the cooked meat counter I studied the various sausage options. Mind blowing! By the ip-dip dog’s do-dah decision-making process I chose one. But as the assistant started to weigh the piece of sausage I chickened out on my decision and asked her if my choice was suitable for sopa caldo verde? She raised her eyebrows by way of a response. No apparently not. She then laughed – I’d selected Piri Piri chouriço sausage! So I let her choose.

Now the moment of truth…

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 Onion (finely chopped)
250g Floury Potatoes (diced)
2 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
1 Bay Leaf
80g raw Chouriço Sausage (cut to slices about 1/2cm thick)
250g Shredded Cabbage (collard or kale)
Pre-packed: Sopas Pronto a Cozinha
2 litres of Water
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

In deep saucepan add 2 tbsp of olive, diced onions, garlic, bay leaf plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently until onion is transparent.

Add the diced potatoes and half the sliced chouriço sausage and sweat for a further 5 minutes until the chouriço releases its oil. Add another pinch of salt.

Add the water and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes). Once cooked use a hand blender to mash the potatoes. This should now form a smooth base for the soup.

While waiting for the potatoes to cook bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the shredded cabbage for 1 minute. Remove cabbage from pan, strain in colander and quickly cool with cold running water to prevent further cooking. Leave to drain.

In a small frying pan add the remaining sliced chouriço sausage and fry until golden brown.

Add the drained cabbage to the soup base. Simmer for about
5 minutes until the cabbage is tender. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve the soup and add the slices of fried chouriço sausage to each dish.

Add a dash of olive oil and serve with broa (cornbread).

Although the soap looked like a bowl of seaweed, much to my surprise it tasted delicious. I will definitely cook this again!

Other Portuguese recipes you may enjoy:
Bacalhau com Natas (Cod in Cream Sauce)
Courve Roxa Com Cominhos – Red Cabbage with Cumin
Octopus Salad
Carne de Porco à Alentejana (Pork with Clams)
Folar – Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

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42 thoughts on “Traditional Portuguese Cabbage Soup ~ Caldo Verde

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  1. My. mom would buy and use portuguese chorizo de Bilbao for paella and a couple of other dishes. Here in the states mexican chorizo is common. You have to search for portuguese sausage. I think portuguese sausage is not as greasy and taste better.

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  2. I love caldo verde, pity we don´t have the ready prepared product here. I now have kale growing in my backyard, but it´s time consuming to cut it so finely. It´s a very typical soup to serve on New Year´s day, at the hotels or clubs, after all the dancing around 3am. I tried it here two years ago, but it´s far too hot for soup, so I didn´t have many takers! I don´t fry the chouriço apart, I just add a few slices to the soup bowl before serving.
    Bom apetite!

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    1. Hi Sami,
      there is a little gizmo you can buy which allows you to slice veg thinly. I have one but have not tried cabbage yet. just reminded me I must dig it out of the cupboard!

      I preferred the sausage fried…when it was semi raw and soft…errr, well I eat with my eyes. LOL 🙂

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  3. Looks mighty tasty. I think you did an awesome job choosing and checking to make sure you had the right ingredients. That’s pretty neat that it’s the national dish. Your photos are great, they look like I could reach in and get me a wee taste of your yummy soup. Well done! 🙂

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  4. This is a soup I had as child and the recipe was different. She would boil the potatoes with a onion quartered and some chourico. Once the potatoes were cooked, she would mash them in the pot and then add the kale, bring to a quick boil, taste for salt and add a drizzle of olive oil. I make the soup the same way to this day.
    Thanks for your blog!

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    1. Hi Anne,
      I think the only difference is thiss recipe blanched the cabbage first and looks like you cook all the sausage in the pot. Try frying a couple of pieces and adding to the top of the soup just before you serve. See what you think…

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  5. Sound delicious PiP, you have inspired me to make some of my own soup, but I will try this one if I can find a packet of that shredded cabbage – don’t fancy doing it myself!

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  6. Thanks for this Piglet – saved on my computer for my next visit to Portugal.

    Not sure I can get the right kale here in the UK as the supermarkets seem to have only the curly variety. I wonder if spring greens would do?

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  7. I strongly dislike chourico too, but maybe it’s a different animal when cooked? Have never tried caldo verde when I’m over there but will definitely do so next trip, then I can come back to your recipe if I love it.

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    1. Hi restless jo. The last time I tasted this soup in a restaurant it was not a pleasant experience. I think the fact that I fried most of the sausage made a huge difference. If you stay in selfcontained accomodation give this recipe a try 🙂

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  8. Dear Piglet, this sounds delicious. They make a similar soup in the souther US with homemade sausages and collard greens, though I bet the Portuguese sausage is a superior product. Can’t wait to try this.

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  9. My caldo verde is much easier to cook. Put the potatoes, onion and salt, in sufficient water to bake (not much). In another pan put the cabbage in water, cutted into thin strips, to cook.
    When the potatoes are cooked, turn off the heat and use a hand blender until you have a creamy pale. Then add the olive oil at the soup( the olive oil shouldn’t cook). Then add the cabbage, with the water (has the nutrients and the flavor of the cabbage). Mix the cabbage, to spread it.
    Then I cut some thin slices of chorizo ​​and place them in the dish (not in the soup – and not baked)

    Note: you can also add a turnip at the potatos cream.

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