Recipe kismet is an odd thing and only happens once in a while which makes it ever so much more beautiful. Recipe kismet occurs when you find a recipe that upon reading simply calls to your soul and sense of palate for a variety of emotional, aesthetic and culinary reasons. It then continues when you set out to make that recipe and discover all of your necessary ingredients at one store conveniently located on your daily route. It ensues when you make the recipe later at home and discover that it turns out exactly how you envisioned it would without a kitchen, equipment or taste hitch. And it finalizes when you write the recipe down in your trusted little book or box knowing that you will make it again and again.
I was granted recipe kismet from the foodie gods this week when I stumbled upon a Cook’s Illustrated version of caldo verde soup. I have always loved the idea of this traditional Portugese soup floating with my favorite Spanish chorizo sausage, hearty Yukon gold potato chunks and tufts of kale. But I’ve always thought it sounded a little too weak to make a dinner worthy bowl or a comfort meal go to. Cook’s writer Lan Lam thought the same thing and created a contemporary version with sweet collard greens rather than kale and a trick of pureeing part of the nearly ready soup and pouring it back into the pot for an extra dose of lush richness and depth.
Served with a hunk of ciabatta, perfect for soaking up the just-spicy-enough soup while still retaining a chewy, textural crust, it was a lovely belly warming variation from our norm. I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day and it was even better after sitting all night. This is going to be my version of Jewish chicken soup for the soul for years to come.
COLLARD AND CHORIZO CALDO VERDE
from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces Spanish-style chorizo sausage, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 pound collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Heat one tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, 1-1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper flakes and season with pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, and water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are just tender, 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer ¾ cup solids and ¾ cup broth to blender jar. Add collard greens to pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, 8-10 minutes longer.
- Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to soup in blender and process until very smooth and homogenous, about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat and stir pureed soup mixture and vinegar into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Can be refrigerated for up to two days.