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Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Friday, November 16, 2012

Caldo Gallego or Kale Soup

In the beautiful Azore Islands, where my grandparents lived, this lovely kale soup was called couves. It is pronounced something like "kway-vish" and is a favorite in my family. I thought I'd share the recipe again, for those who missed it in the earlier posts. It is exactly the same soup you find in Spain, called Caldo Gallego.

You start with an inexpensive cut of beef. My grandmother used shank and short ribs back in the 50's but those have skyrocketed in price. Now, I look for a good chuck roast on sale.

You will also need some good olive oil, maybe 2 tablespoons.

Put the olive oil in a heavy pot and turn the heat on medium.
When it begins to smoke, put in the meat and brown it good on both sides.
When the meat is browned, take it out and let it rest on a plate.
Add a big cupful of chopped onion to the oil and cook them until they are clear.
Now add some minced garlic. I use about 3 fat cloves.

Add some salt and pepper and put the meat back into the pot.
Cover the entire thing with about 2 inches of water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) until the meat begins to fall apart.

Once the meat is tender, you will add some chopped potatoes.
I usually put in about 4 large potatoes, cubed.

While the potatoes are cooking, get your kale ready.
You will wash the kale and cut the center rib out of each leaf.
You can use curly or flat kale, it doesn't matter, but the flat is easier to handle.
You can also use collard greens, if you can't find kale.
Now make a stack of kale leaves, 
like this:

Then, beginning at a short end, ROLL the kale leaves into a very tight bundle.
Using a razor sharp knife, cut the bundle into very thin shreds.
This is called "chiffonade."
In Portugal, you can buy a little tool with a crank that shreds kale.
You could also put it in a food processor, but you'd need to be careful not to mush it up too much.

When the potatoes are done, pile the kale in, and cover the pot.
Let it steam for about 15 minutes, then stir the kale in.
Cook for another 10 minutes on low.

Be sure to add some crusty chewy bread to the meal.

This Kale Soup has Linguica in it instead of beef.
That is a great option if you can find Silva's Linquica!