This week called for a very large helping of comfort and kindness. Something to soothe our frazzled nerves and temper our anxiety and fear. I know I could use some. I have half a mind to jump on a plane and go hug my kids. I keep reminding myself, they’ll be home in a week, they’ll be home in a week. Some things that have helped me survive this week include humor (thanks Sean, hugs from Grandma) and talking to friends (not railing, that just makes me crazy but yes I have done a lot of that too). Escapism-like movies, saw Dr. Strange (despite my stand against using Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One). Listening to audio books instead of the news and to music I adore like Motown. Riding my bike and taking Sammy on walks (yep, so lucky to live in California). Reading and perusing bookstores. To chase away the blues I went to a book signing for Dorie Greenspan at Omnivore Cookbooks. That deserves it’s own special blogpost which I will get to very soon.
And of course cooking and baking.
Posed the age-old question..If you could pick only one food to eat everyday for the rest of your life, (asked by my kid Jordan, the “What if? Kid” right after asking “If you get to pick a superpower, what would it be) I think I would have to say soup. I love soup. My Dad, the cook in our family, often made soup as part of our evening meal. It was amazing, he would start with a pot of water, add slices of meat, herbs and spices such as ginger and scallions, different vegetables and voila’ a delicious tasty soup in 30 minutes. Yep, 30 minutes. It was like magic but it was probably plenty of herbs and spices, lots of fresh vegetables and meat and not too much water that did the trick.
So this week I turned to my ultimate comfort food, soup. I found a recipe for Caldo Verde in Martha Stewart’s book Vegetables and it screamed make me, make me! So I did. A hearty Portuguese soup with potatoes, onions, collard greens and chorizo or linguicia. Delicious. It was warm and filling with a hint of bitterness from the greens and spice from the sausage. I loved it and I think you will too. The recipe fills a nice sized pot so share with a neighbor or friend…see, comfort and kindness. It will help get you through some of those rough days.
As always tweak the recipe to your liking. The original recipe calls for kale or collard greens, you can substitute greens with less bite such as chard or spinach. Russet potatoes can be replaced by Yukon Golds giving the rustic soup a smoother less starchy texture. In place of chorizo, try lingucia or any spicy sausage, delish. For additional smokiness, saute a couple strips of bacon along with the sausage and add to the soup.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2.5 pounds russet potatoes (about 5 medium) peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 8 ounces firm chorizo or linguica, halved lengthwise
- 10-12 ounces kale, tough stems trimmed and leaves thinly sliced, or collard greens
- Salt and pepper
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring periodically until softened, approximately 4 minutes.
- Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo or linguine and cook until browned, approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.
- If desired in the same pan, saute' 2 slices of bacon that have been cut into 1/2 inche pieces.
- Transfer chorizo to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle thinly slice on the diagonal crosswise. Transfer bacon to a paper towel to drain.
- Puree soup with a hand blender or in a regular blender in batches. Do not fill more than halfway if using a blender.
- Return to pot and stir in greens, simmer additional 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve soup drizzled with oil and topped with chorizo and bacon.
- Optional garnish with cilantro if desired.