This Portuguese-style soup has been one of our go-to dinners for years, and was one of the first soups I ever made that really worked. The original recipe was from the dearly departed magazine Kitchen Gardener, and while I occasionally muck around with different ingredients (white beans are particularly good), I always come back to the basic formula: kale, sausage, tomatoes, and garlic. And it’s not just delicious – it’s stuffed full of vitamins, and low-carb to boot. Whenever I make it we wonder why we don’t have it more often.
Kale-Sausage Soup (an approximate recipe)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 large bunch curly kale, cleaned, stemmed and roughly torn or chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb hot Italian sausages (if your sausages aren’t spicy, I’d suggest adding red pepper flakes to the carrots and garlic)
- salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and saute the carrots and garlic until sizzling and beginning to turn golden. Add the kale and a good pinch of salt and stir well until it wilts. Add the stock and tomatoes, bring it to simmer, cover and cook about 20 minutes on low heat, or until the kale is limp but still green.
In the meantime, cook the sausages in a covered pan with a little water, then fry them in their own fat until they brown nicely. Slice them into rounds.
When the kale is tender, slip the sausage into the pot, stir it up, and taste the broth for salt. Grind in plenty of fresh black pepper and turn off the heat.
So when we were at The Swinery the other day we just couldn’t resist buying a piece of dry chorizo. There was no question as to what we would do with it – Portuguese clams and sausage!
I had a little trouble finding a recipe for clams and chorizo, to my surprise – it’s a fairly common restaurant dish, but it wasn’t in any of my Portuguese or Spanish cookbooks. When I did finally find one (in Bruce Aidells’ Book of Pork) I ended up mostly ignoring it, but I did follow his general idea. I chopped some garlic and sauteed it in olive oil, then added the diced chorizo. I cut up a rather spicy little pepper that I picked from one of my plants and tossed that in along with a good handful of fresh tomatoes (mostly Stupice, with a few Sungold and Sweet Million). Some chopped parsley and a sprig of thyme, also from my garden, then a half glass of white wine and some chicken stock to make a nice broth.
When all that had come to a good sprightly bubble, I put in the clams and let them open, stirring gently to make sure they all came in contact with the other flavors. It was particularly charming how the clamshells collected little piles of sausage and pepper and tiny tomatoes. With a few pieces of Breadfarm potato bread to soak up the broth and a glass of chilled Verdejo, this was a dinner I’d be delighted to eat in any restaurant.
Last week there were rather a lot of things I was frantically trying to get done. One of them was to take some pictures to enter in the Leite’s Culinaria food photography contest, which involved making a recipe from their website and taking a photo of the finished dish. I am very bad at following recipes closely, so it was a little hard for me to find one that I thought I could remain mostly faithful to. I ended up choosing a salad of canned tuna and black-eyed peas, a traditional Portuguese dish with many possible variations.
The recipe is incredibly simple, just cooked black-eyed peas tossed with tuna, onion, garlic, olive oil and vinegar, with some parsley stirred in. I was a little dubious at the initial smell of the black-eyed peas (which I had never cooked before) – they seemed unpleasantly grassy and stunk up the house remarkably. But when I had mixed in the other ingredients and let the salad sit for a little while, it took on a whole new level of flavor that was compellingly good. We ate it plain for dinner the first night, then stuffed into pitas with lettuce for two more lunches. Delicious.