My first attempt at kale and potato soup was made a few weeks ago. While good, it wasn't wow. But the flavor combination definitely had potential. I made a note to revisit the idea when I had the basic ingredients on hand again. Fast forward to today. I spent some time online this morning and found a number of recipes for Caldo Verde - Portuguese Kale Soup. I decided to try a twist on this tradition, replacing the chourizo with chourizo-like spices: paprika, mexican oregano, and ground chili. I also added pinto beans for protein. It went like this:
Spicy Kale & Potato Soup
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground chili
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. mexican oregano
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
4 c. veggie stock or water
1/2 bunch curly kale, stems removed and cut into fine julienne
15 oz. pinto beans, rinsed
I started by making a light veggie stock: the stems trimmed from the kale, 2 cloves of sliced garlic, a few mixed pepper corns, and about 6 cups of water. Bring this to a boil, then allow to simmer for about an hour. If lacking the time or patience for this, use water instead.
Cook the onion over medium heat in a large pot until translucent. Add the garlic and spices, stir well, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add potatoes and stock (or water) and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer until the potatoes are done (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
At this point, the goal is to mash up the potatoes. You can do this by hand, either using a masher or by pressing the potatoes with the back of a spoon against the side of the pot. I used my immersion blender, blending until the soup was almost smooth.
Add the kale. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the kale is cooked (about 5 minutes). Add pinto beans. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let the soup sit so the flavors can meld together (the longer it sits, the more the flavors will blend). When nearly ready to serve, taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary. At this point, I added a dash of Joe's Cosmic Good Stuff Chile (JR's fathers special blend of crazy hot chiles, dried and ground), reheated the soup, and served it hot with rustic bread.
The verdict? I'd say it beats the recipe I tried a few weeks ago, though there still seems to be something missing that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe more spice? I'm going to mix some more of Joe's Cosmic Chile in and let the flavors meld overnight. I'll report back tomorrow.