Calde Verde; or, how to make a tasty Brazilian-style potato soup with kale

I was lucky to come across calde verde. If it wasn’t for knowing a lot of Brazilians and going to a traditional-style New Year’s party, then I would never have found it. What’s more it was cooked for me -party food!- by Brazilians, so I got to taste first hand how it is supposed to be.

What I love about this meal is that it’s a great way to use spring greens or kale! What else can you do with those lucious dark leaves.

It’s one of my staples now, and I’ve made it so many times that I can’t remember how thick or runny it is supposed to be. I make it stodgy, like a stew, and the soft textures of the bacon and onions are a great foil for the still crunchy greens.

Tip: No matter how much calde verde I make, I usually toss in only enough greens for one meal. That way you always get bright and crunchy greens at every meal.

Anyhow, here goes.

Calde verde recipecalde verde

Some potatoes (how hungry are you? I used 5 medium / smallish taties which did me two fair sized meals / bowlfuls)
An onion, diced
A clove or two of garlic, sliced
Bacon or chorizo (I used about half a pound of bacon this time), roughly chopped
A saucepan of water or stock (I cheat and use a bouillon cube)
A few leaves of spring greens or kale, stripped from the stems so you’re left with only the leafy bits

So, you dice the potatoes relatively small (so you don’t have to wait forever while they cook). Boil them in either salted water, or stock.

Saute the onion, garlic and bacon (or bacon first, if you want it crispy), until everything’s softened. Take off the heat.

When the potatoes are cooked, pour the remaining water or stock into a jug, and mash the spuds. I don’t know how mashed they’re supposed to be, but lumps give it a nice texture, so anything goes.

Gradually pour the potato water back into the mash, mixing it together to make a thickish paste. Thinner is better at the start as it thickens quickly.

Yummy way to use kaleAdd the onion and bacon mix and stir. Keep on a lowish heat for a while. BEWARE of molten splashes of Evil Tatty, it spits like some writhing bog monster when boiled, and they hurt like huge hot oil spatters.

Slice the lovely fresh greens as thin as you can (like 2mm or something), and dump into the stew. Cook for maybe 3-5 minutes, semi boiling. The greens want to be brightly hued and still crunchy, but not too raw.

Ladle into your dish and away you go.

The reason this one is yellow is due to a dessertspoon of English mustard, which worked very well.