Caldo Verde is portuguese for Green Soup.
While the name may not be mouth-watering the soup is. I had the soup on three different occasions on our three day trip to Lisbon even though it wasn’t listed as such on the menus.
The first night I had the soup at a restaurant named Carmo in the Bairro Alto neighborhood. The Caldo Verde soup was described as a Green Cabbage soup and was a vegetarian version. By the way I highly recommend the restaurant.
The second time I had the soup from the soup vendor at the Time Out market in Lisbon. The soup vendor had about 7 or 8 different kinds of soup. I took a look at the fish soup and seafood soup which are also Portuguese classics but decided to go for the Caldo Verde since it had been so amazing the night before.
The third time I had the soup was in a small unpretentious restaurant in the Baixa neighborhood. The soup was just listed as Vegetable Soup on the menu. It turned out to be Caldo Verde again, which I was very happy to have!
Since we have been back in Paris I have made Caldo Verde three times. Each of the first two times there wasn’t enough for everyone to eat as much as they wanted. So this time I made a really big pot!
You can see that there are slight differences between each of the soups. I won’t give you a precise recipe since there are plenty on the web. However, here are some tips:
- Use plenty of garlic
- Use plenty of onions
- Add some spice (spicy red pepper works well, like cayenne)
- Potatoes provide a good solid base
- Any green vegetables work (spinach, broccoli, green beans)
- Any combinations of vegetables work as long as you have a neutral base and then something green that doesn’t have an overpowering flavor. You can go through your vegetable bin and see what needs to be cleared out.
- So far I have used both potatoes and potatoes/celeriac as a base.
- I have also added a bit of sweet potato and carrots (but not so much as to be noticeable in the flavor).
- You don’t need the sausage, in fact, I much prefer it without the sausage. In Lisbon the sausage was added at the end (just before eating) so it doesn’t really add to the flavor. For me, it distracted and detracted from the flavor. An added benefit is that this soup is then VEGAN!
- A quick and easy recipe is to start with frozen purees. Saute the onions and garlic until soft, then add the purees and simmer. The advantage of this is that you don’t need a blender and you don’t puree again afterward. The onions add a nice textural element.