- Romina Olson
From Portugal with Love
While visiting and working in Portugal, we had the chance to meet with new and old friends in the beautiful city of Porto. We did a lot in those 5 days.... Sergio collaborated with producer Jean De Oliveira and recorded a new song at Input studio in Matosinhos; We gave two Master classes at the University of Porto (w/ Dr Soraia Pereira) and ESMAD (w/ Patrícia Nogueira); and fortunately, we also got the chance to just hang with great people and enjoy some amazing Portuguese food & wine.
One dish that we absolutely loved from the traditional Northern Portuguese cuisine is Caldo Verde; one could say their equivalent to the all American chicken noodle soup. It is a fantastic dish to eat when it's cold out, like it was in Porto where the temperature stayed at around 44 F degrees during the day and drop to mid 30's at night. Caldo verde was exactly what we needed to warm our tired bodies.
So, breaking the tradition of Italian recipes, here's now a Portuguese one! Well, maybe our Italian-Texan-Portuguese one. Even though I am staying as true to the original recipe as possible, there are some variations: One, instead of Portuguese olive oil we're using Chef Panico's olive oil that he makes from his olive orchards once a year in Puglia! Second, it will be a vegetarian version of the Caldo Verde which meat eaters can compliment with pieces of portuguese Chouriço or Italian sausage added after served. Lastly, it is made with collard greens instead of the unique greens that they use over there that one can only find in Portugal! With all that said, roll your sleeves up and let's get cookin'!
6 peeled gold potatoes
1 bunch of collard greens or Tuscan kale
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
5-6 tablespoons of REAL extra virgin olive oil or in the best of cases... Chef Panico's olive oil*
*info about how to buy some of this precious oil at bottom of the recipe!
Now throw on your family apron and let's get this Caldo Verde started....
Since we are making a vegetarian Caldo verde, we will sauté our onions and garlic before adding our potatoes, vegetable broth and water. This will allow us to get a good base going for the soup.
First, we peel and dice our onion into quarters. Peel and slice your garlic and add it to the pot with a drizzle of real extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Stir onions and garlic till the onions turn a pretty gold and begin to sweat. You will notice you kitchen starting to smell like something good is brewing.
Next, add your peeled and diced potatoes, vegetable broth, water, salt and pepper. You want the vegetable broth and water to barely cover everything in the pot. If you don't add enough liquid it will be more like a Cream Verde instead of a Caldo Verde ;) Let everything boil for about 20-25min or until the potatoes are soft enough to mash.
While that cooks, let's move on to preparing the collard greens that will be added to the soup at the very end. Clean the leaves and place and individual leaf on a cutting board. Take your knife and cut away the stem. Do this to 2-3 leaves and then stack on top of each other and roll the leaves tightly as if your rolling a cigar. Take a serrated knife and cut very thin slices into the rolled collard greens. Set cut rolls aside and finish the rest of the batch of collard greens. You can also use Tuscan kale which can give a nice flavor to your Caldo Verde.
Now you have a beautiful pile of collard green swirls! It's very important you cut your greens this way... Why? It's the traditional Portuguese way. Now, toss all the greens in to a pot of boiling water and cook for about 5-8 min, until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside for now.
Our caldo (pot of potatoes, onions and garlic) should be cooked by now. Next, we blend everything in the pot together to make a cream like base. I strongly suggest you use an Immersion blender (it will make this recipe very easy). But! If you're like me and don't have one, you can use a blender. Pour back in the pot with your broth the pureed potatoes and mix until broth & puree are are good soup like consistency.
Once you have added a little heat the Caldo is ready to serve. Take a ladle and serve the Caldo into your favorite Caldo bowl. Here comes the Verde part! Are you ready!? Yes Romina, we want to eat!
Okay, grab a small handful of your boiled collard greens or kale and add it to your bowl of Caldo.
Gently mix around and for the final touch.... add a few drops of your Chef Panico Pugliese olive oil. This will make your creation like no other bowl of Caldo Verde! Although the original recipe calls also for pieces of sausage added on top, we think this meat-less version is amazing as is.
We definitely encourage you to make a stop in Portugal next time you visit Italy. It is beautiful, the pace is much slower, the people are super nice, the fish is amazing, and everything is cheaper than the rest of Europe.
If you want more info about Portugal, read this great blog post "The Petite Guide to Lisbon" created by Jessika. She is a storyteller, entrepreneur and visionary who has spent the past two years traveling the world and chronicling her experiences on her travel blog called "The Petite Nomad." Jessika is also one of our ITAL believers!
I was able to catch up with Jessika and get her to try this Italian Vegetarian inspired Caldo Verde. Judging by her beautiful smiling face I think she enjoyed it!
Get your hands on some Chef Panico's REAL Extra Virgin olive oil!
The olives come from his olive orchards in the town of Ginosa in Puglia where he is from. These are olives that him and his father have harvested with their hands. The flavor and texture is out of this world. He only made a limited batch. Contact us if interested in getting your hands on a 5 litter can from Italy.
Wondering what's next?
Check out the editorial post of this newsletter where we discuss the future of ITAL and Tiramisu For Two and how you can stay in touch with us after this last public newsletter...