Here’s a little back story on me and the soup. A majority of my family background is rooted in Portugal, but sadly, that heritage is pretty alien to me. I did grow up with grandparents who spoke the language and great-grandparents who were born in Madeira and hardly ever spoke English at all. Sundays would usually consist of our family leaving church and heading to my great-grandmother’s kitchen to sample the tasty dishes still sitting in pots on her stove. I remember being fascinated with the idea she would cook so much and, like a homing beacon, it would attract all members of the family to her house. Her kitchen was a magnet for hungry aunts, uncles and cousins. Crowds gathered, plates were distributed and loud, festive conversations in Portuguese would ensue. Like most kids, I wasn’t into trying different things and boy did a lot of her meals look “different”. Apparently I missed out on a lot of tasty Portuguese dishes. Except for her Portuguese Kale Soup. That one not only looked okay for me to try, but I enjoyed bowl after bowl each time it was placed in front of me. It’s a great hearty soup for cold New England winter Sundays like the ones where we gathered at Va-voa’s house. And I think you’ll enjoy it whenever and wherever you are.
Now, I don’t have my great-grandmother’s recipe, nor do I have the one my mother made which was even better, (Hi, Mom), but I’ve been able to pull together a decent soup. Part of it is from internet searches, family memories and a little bit of personal taste. Mom says she would include beef in her soup, which I excluded, mainly because I felt like the Portuguese linguica was meat enough. Most recipes would tell you to use chorizo, but as there are many Mexican chorizo brands out there, I felt the Portuguese linguica was a little more, well, Portuguese.
Portuguese Kale Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium white waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 5 tsp garlic, chopped
- 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
- 1 pound kale, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannelini beans (white kidney) , drained and rinsed
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 14 oz Portuguese linguica (or chorizo, or turkey kielbasa), casing removed, halved and sliced
- 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth