Caldo Verde Jon’s Style
Okay, this cooking version is for the crockpot overnight (~8hours), then awake in the cold morning to YUMMY food ready to eat. It wasn’t originally, as you can make it faster cooking it all in a regular pot (~1hour) or you can make it semi-faster pre-cooking the major parts and then putting them all in the crockpot (~4hours). Jon, in RI
- 4 – 6 potatoes – any kind. If they’re russets or thick-skinned, then peel them. Otherwise dice ‘em around ½” to ¾” cubes
- 2 – 5 links of chourico or linguica. Chourico is spicier. Pick one or mix if you want. Slice, dice, or peel the casing and crumble to your taste.
- 1 – 2 medium onions. Or 1 large one. Any onion is fine, but I use Spanish for this. I dice ‘em rough-cut or about ½” cut. They’re gonna slow cook anyway, and this way they’ll be visible in the stew.
- 1 – 2 bunches of kale or Portuguese cabbage. Well anything ‘green’ will work (‘Caldo Verde’ means green broth in Portuguese), but the flavor changes with different greens. I tend to use Kale as it’s cheap, it’s easy to find, and it’s soo good. Heck, you could use spinach if you want (that actually sounds kinda good . . . hmm). Anyway, remember the plant looks big and fluffy until it wilts (and thank you, please no comparisons necessary here).
- ~2 – 3 cups of chicken broth. I use bullion cubes right now (until I use ‘em up), so I make the broth a bit weak by about ¼ with water. That excess moisture steams off anyway, and then the stew isn’t overpowered by chicken flavor. Also, the more liquid you use, the thinner the end result (this can be broth-like to stew-like as you see fit).
- ~1 – 2 Table spoons of minced garlic. Anyone sane uses those jars of pre-diced stuff anyway (mmmm, I love the smell of a freshly opened jar). You wanna cut it up yourself? Have fun . . .
- Other veggies – I put peppers and zucchini into the last one. Some folks put chickpeas or fava beans or kidney beans in here. Celery can be added. Whatever you got in the crisper, but not too much of it. Let the top four ingredients control the stew.
- Salt and pepper to taste. I use roughly 2X the pepper they ask for in most recipes.
- Goya makes a Portuguese seasoning packet that says ‘Con Azzafron’ (which means ‘with saffron’). It’s an orange box with yellow and green stripes. I got it from the Portuguese/American store in West Warwick, RI. (This spice isn’t necessary, but it ADDS A LOT of taste for any Portuguese recipe. The seasonings in the meat itself do the same to a lesser degree.)
- Make/pour broth into crockpot. Sometimes it’s worth it to nuke the broth to steamy beforehand, or even boil it in a saucepan.
- Turn on crockpot to ‘low’ and cover. Each time you wanna add, remove cover and replace it after adding, to keep the temperature up.
- Peel/dice potatoes and add (any size/shape will do in the crockpot)
- Peel/dice onions and add
- Peel/dice/whatever other veggies and add
- Skin/dice/slice chourico/linguica and add
- Any beans can go in now (I’m thinking canned beans by the way)
- Add some salt ‘n pepper now to estimated taste
- By now, take a break, and give it an hour or so, to wait for the pot to heat things up.
- Where was I? Oh yeah, now is the time to add the Verde (green) to the Caldo (soup). Kale has a thick and tough vein at its center. I like to peel the leaf off the vein and rough chop it (tossing the vein). If you are using something which has a softer vein (like Portuguese cabbage), then feel free to include it into the chop.
- Anyway, you tend to have an almost full crockpot by this point, and a BUNCH of bushy green leaves. That’s okay. Remember the wilt comment above? This is where that comes in. Add whatever will fit under the lid without releasing too much steam, and wait ~15-30 minutes.
- Stir in the wilted ‘kale’ and then add more as above.
- Repeat as necessary.
- After around 3-4hours, roughly stir and kinda mash the potatoes a bit (after this, be sure to stir along the edges to pull the mashed parts away from the walls of the pot). This is a good time to taste the broth and also test the liquidity of the soup/stew.
- Add anything you think will help. If the Caldo Verde is too thin, then remove lid (drain the lid condensation into the sink) and stir to free steam roughly once per 30 minutes for the next couple hours). The evaporation will thicken the soup rather well this way, and its fun to see it coalescing into a fine meal.