Monday, August 20, 2012
Portuguese Kale Soup
I grew up on what's known as the Outer Cape on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I lived on Bound Brook Island in Wellfleet with my father and first one, then another stepmother, and with my mother and stepfather in Truro, in a delightful little cottage where I spent many happy hours either on the beach, fifteen minutes away on the bay, or waiting for my stepfather's boat to come in with the rest of the Provincetown fishing fleet. Whether Wellfleet or Provincetown, I loved sitting on the wharf, listening to the seagulls and the rumble of the boats as they came in. I ate a lot of very fresh fish ( which made me very picky about my fish forever), and lots of Portuguese Kale Soup - a Cape Codder's version of chicken soup. There was a large population of Portuguese in Provincetown, and my stepfather and his family were very much part of it. Kale soup was on every menu in early Provincetown restaurants, and I have to assume all my parents were all adept at their own versions, because for me, it is home.
Kale soup is centered around a traditional Portuguese pork sausage known as linguica. It has hints of tomato, and spices, but it's not nearly as hot as chorizo, another Portuguese sausage, often too spicy for my taste. The best linguica comes from Gaspar's, available, thankfully, even here in New Hampshire at Shaw's supermarkets. It's packaged as a coil, much as kielbasa, sometimes as small sausages or crumbled, but the large coil is by far the most flavorful. Most packets run a little over or under a pound. if you can't find Gaspar's linguica, you can substitute a thick slice of smoked ham.
This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup, which freezes very well.
You will need:
1 medium chopped onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 T. olive oil
3 cups ( about 1 lb) linguica, uncoiled, cut into 5 inch lengths, then quartered lengthwise and cut into a large dice
4-5 medium red skinned potatoes, skin on, cut in large dice
hefty pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water, more or less
2 cups diced plum tomatoes, canned, along with their juices
6+ cups packed torn kale leaves, stems discarded
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 T. unsalted butter, stirred in at the end, optional
1 can cannellini or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed, stirred in at the end
3 T. good salsa , hot or not, stirred in at the end
salt and pepper to taste ( light on the salt, as it seems saltier as it sits)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir, cook for 5 minutes.
Add the linguica, the potatoes, the red pepper flakes, and the chicken stock and water and simmer until the potatoes are tender - about 25 minutes.
Add the kale and the diced tomatoes, thyme, and beans and cook another 20 minutes.
Add the red wine vinegar.
Stir in the salsa and optional butter and take off heat. Let sit a bit before serving with good crusty bread and butter.
More kale soup recipes:
Sausage and Kale Soup
Caldo Verde: Portuguese Potato Kale Soup