I loves me some soup. Particularly this soup with its mix of garlicky broth, potatoes and kale. In fact, some people call it Portuguese Potato and Kale Soup, but I prefer Caldo Verde as it makes me sound more sophisticated.
One of my favourite bands Jonny and the Baptists even have a song about soup. This is from the Soup (reprise):
A melting pot that's good for the soul.
Multiculturalism in a bowl.
You don't need to chew unless you have a roll.
Soup is all you need!
That pretty much sums up my feelings about this soup.
I have a recipe for Caldo Verde in no less than three cookbooks, but this is the one I come back to time and time again. It is adapted my well thumbed copy of Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. Affectionately known as Cheap-Ass Vegan in our house. Her recipe calls for half a cup "smoky tempeh bits" (a recipe from earlier in her cookbook.) For years, instead of faffing about making smoky tempeh bits to put in this soup, we just used half a packet of smoked tofu and called it a day. These days smoked tofu is out of our budget (nearly £4 a packet) so i just add mushrooms for "meatiness"and some liquid smoke for that smoky yum factor. It is just as good as my original substitution, but more budget friendly.
I like to serve this with cornbread. As Chris Rock says: Cornbread. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1.5 lbs russet potatoes, cut into cubes
7 and 1/4 cups strong vegetable broth (I use 6 tsp homemade broth powder, 1 tsp marmite and a good splash tamari soy sauce)
1.5 cups cooked white beans (like navy or haricot), drained and rinsed
4-6 cups chopped kale. (for us, 100g--half a bag)
2 tsp liquid smoke
If use use premade stock then just bung it in at the right time. If you are like me and use a powder, add the powder as you add the herbs and stir to coat. Then add your boiling water, marmite and a splash of tamari soy sauce.
To make it:
1. In a really large pot, saute your onion in a splash of oil or 1/4 cup water until softening. Add the garlic and cook about a minute longer.
2. Add in your herbs and salt (and powder if you make yours like I do.) Stir to coat then add your carrots,mushrooms, potatoes and 7 and 1/4 cups boiling water (or stock if yours is premade) and bring to the boil. Boil then simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are done.
3. Add in the beans and the kale and raise the heat on the soup a bit until the kale is softened and wilted to your liking.
4. Add in your liquid smoke.
This makes a huge amount and we eat it over two days. Both times with cornbread. It makes about six servings.
It is really delicious and definitely keeps the vampires at bay. It is also cheap as potatoes and kale are fairly inexpensive. Don't go for the fancy Tuscan or Dinosaur kale...just the cheap, hearty curly kale.
And to finish off--more wisdom from Jonny and the Baptists:
It's a meal you drink, a drink you eat.
A hearty, sloppy soupy treat.
You don't need teeth, you don't need friends.
Soup is all you need!