Caldo Verde


Caldo Verde.

caldoIt seems to be kale and cocktail week here at the farm. (And we are OK with that, things could be worse.) Kale is in season, and after making a massaged kale salad, we decided to make a kale-based main dish, and we quickly settled on cooking up a pot of Caldo Verde. If you are going to have a kale recipe that will please a crowd, we suggest you take a look at making Caldo Verde. Caldo Verde, one of Portugal’s most popular dishes, is a soup of kale, potatoes and onions that often includes extra herbs, garlic, sausage and pork. This is a hearty soup that is easy to make and uses readily available ingredients. And if its cold outside, there are few things better than a big bowl of this soup.

calso12caldo10Caldo Verde is also a versatile dish, you can start with a basic version of kale, potato, onion and linguica sausage (or spanish chorizo) and be ready in about an hour. But, if you want to add depth you can make a quick pork stock from ham hocks and add garlic, other herbs, etc. The only issue is time. But since we had some time, our recipe is based on making a ham hock-based stock, using the meat from the ham hocks and building the Caldo from the ham stock. We also add extra herbs to brighten the flavor. But if you don’t have the time, stick to the basic recipe and use salted water or low-sodium chicken stock as the base of your soup.

caldo11caldo9As for making the dish, if you can boil water and rough chop some ingredients, you can cook a fine batch of Caldo Verde. The only real trick in this recipe is that you use half of the potatoes as a thickener for the stock and add half later to have pieces of potato in the soup. You can mash the potatoes with an immersion blender, potato masher or even with the back of a wooden spoon, but don’t skip this step, the potatoes give extra flavor and silky texture to the soup. Otherwise this recipe is as simple, and as good, as it gets.

caldo7caldo9So how does Caldo Verde taste? It depends somewhat on the base you use for the soup, but you will get bright kale, rich potato, sweet onions and some spice from the linguica sausage. If you use a ham hock or shank for the soup base, it will be richer and smokier, while water or chicken stock will be a bit brighter flavored and lets the kale lead the dish. But there is one more thing, regardless of how you make your Caldo, it will be good the first day, but even better the second day. So make a big batch and enjoy this soup over a couple of days. You will be glad you did.

caldo6caldo4Caldo Verde:

Notes Before You Start:

  • You can use any type of kale for this dish, just slice it thinly before adding to the pot.
  • Linguica is a Portuguese, mildly spicy, smoked and cured pork sausage with paprika and garlic. Substitute Spanish chorizo or other cured, spicy pork sausage.

What You Get: A very flavorful and satisfying winter soup. Plenty of veggies, too.

What You Need: An immersion blender or potato masher will help mash the potatoes, but you can use the back of a wooden spoon, if you like. No other special equipment required.

How Long? About an hour if using salted water or chicken stock. About 2 hours if making a stock with ham hocks.


(Makes 6-8 servings)

Ham Hock Stock:

  • 2-3 ham hocks or 1 large smoked ham shank sawed (by your butcher) into 3 pieces
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Salt, to taste


  • 2 quarts Ham Hock stock, lightly salted water or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 medium potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold), peeled and in 1/2 dice
  • 1 pound of linguica sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • Ham from the ham hocks or shanks (if using)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound of kale, heavy ribs removed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Ham Hock Stock:

  1. Add the water, ham hocks and a few teaspoons of salt to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When at a boil, lower the heat and simmer the ham hocks until cooked and they pull off the bone, about 1 hour. Taste the stock and add salt if needed, the stock should be just a bit salty.
  2. Pull the ham hocks from the stock and allow to cool on a plate. When cool, pull the skin and bones from the ham hocks, pull off any meat and roughly chop. Set aside.


  1. In a large pot, bring the ham hock stock, salted water or chicken stock to a low boil.
  2. Meanwhile, put half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until just colored, 2-3 minutes. Add half the potatoes and cook, stirring often, for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the potato mixture to the large pot with the stock and cook until the potatoes are mushy, 15-20 minutes. Then, using an immersion blender or potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth. Now, add the remaining potatoes and cook until done, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the linguica and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Then add the linguica to the soup pot. Add the ham pieces, if using, and stir into the soup. At this point, taste the stock, if you like extra spice, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  5. When the potatoes are cooked but still firm add the kale, parsley and cilantro to the pot. Cook until the kale is just tender, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.

32 thoughts on “Caldo Verde

  1. So that’s what it’s called! I always just called it Sausage and Kale. And you’re right…it tastes so much better when it is cooled and heated at least once. I make it the day before I want it for that very reason! It travels well in a Mason jar, and stays pretty warm until lunchtime, too. Yum!

  2. Lacinato Kale posts are great Putney Farm. We made Ribollita over the weekend which is another great way to make a hearty kale soup, but we’ll have to try this Caldo Verde recipe a try next time.

  3. I’ve never heard of Caldo Verde before and when I first started reading this post I thought, Nooooo way. But when I went through your list of ingredients, I’ve completely changed my mind! This sounds dee-lish!

  4. This looks great. I’ve got some greens (still) put up in the freezer which may want to come out and play with some sausage I discovered hanging with the feta in the cheese drawer when I cleaned the fridge today. Though I also cleaned out part of one freezer and made chicken stock (it’s like jelly, it’s so thick) so I’ll use that instead.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Yum! You mentioned “kale” and “cocktail” in the same sentence. Can you put the two together–kale cocktail? (not talking health shake) If anyone can, it’s Putney Farm folk:-)

  6. Hey Puts!

    I’ve been so pathetically sick for the last few weeks, I can’t even think about food beyond the blandest. I can’t read your gorgeous posts or write my own. I can’t drink at the moment so even thinking about your amazing c*cktails makes me wanna yack, but your “Caldo Verde” caught my eye so I know I must truly be on the mend. 😉

    I had to share, yes, my own Muddy take on the C.V. I grow the traditional Beira Kale each year just to make the dang soup from it! It’s a beautiful garden veggie and I just ordered up a packet of seeds for this year’s crop.

    For me it’s all about the nubile, fresh-burst kale and deft chopping. I go vegetarian, not because I don’t adore the s*usage, but because the flavors are so bright and restorative without any distractions. I serve the meaty junk on the side.

    Yours looks yummy. A big bowl of comfort. It’s truly the Portuguese version of matzoh ball soup. xx

    • Thanks. And hope you feel better. We make veggie versions as well, but the boys are always more easily sold on pork (except with veggie curries- making progress there).

      I do like your recipe cooking the fine kale in the bowl…nice presentation…hmmm..

      Once you feel better…I suggest a cocktail. They used to be for “medical purposes”…

      • Yeah — unfortunately that cocktail may take a while. My liver had a little run-in with my latest course of Lyme antibiotics, rendering it slightly unable to function. In Thailand. In the jungle. Hours down the Mekong by longboat to…another longboat. Weren’t pretty. Me and liver (Liver and I?), we’re on the mend though and are looking forward to an ice cold beer round about June.

        I will then share the Four Seasons Golden Triangle recipe for Tom Yum Martinis with you. For now I can’t even say —(rhymes with lotka)– aloud without feeling icky.

        Until then…delicious Sleepytime tea!

      • Ugh. Sort of your own little “Heart of Darkness / Apocalypse Now” moment….

        Feel better. I’ve heard time in the garden and kitchen speeds healing…;-)

  7. Interesting recipe! I would never have thought to combine kale and cilantro. We’ve had so much frost here that the kale now should be nice and sweet, so I could try to make something with kale and perhaps something like this is a good idea.
    Great post with great photos as usual!

  8. I’m not really a proponent as soup for a meal, but this looks hearty enough that I’d make an exception. The colors, ingredients, and use of pork really just look incredible. Do you think this would be good with a little green chili spice for a little kick?

    • Green chili would work pretty well to replace red pepper flake. You may just want to taste along with the linguica (spiciness varies).

      This is a good soup as a meal….the potato broth seems light but does fill you up…

  9. Pingback: Pan Seared Flank Steak With Herb Butter « Putney Farm

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