Call it the last supper. When I walked out of my supermarket the other day, I was fortified with two serendipitous finds buried within my heavy grocery totes: a massive and corrugated bunch of cobalt-green dinosaur kale, and a dinosaur of another sort: the November, and final, issue of Gourmet Magazine.
Once home, my feet up and fingers flipping through the glossy pages of the end of an era, I startled to discover a recipe for caldo verde, the thick and garlic-y Portuguese potato soup, distinctive for its mermaid's tangle of kale strips floating on the surface. Was it fate? There was a deep vat of potato chunks boiling and bobbing in a spicy broth at the back of my stove. I was already making caldo verde.
Is my recipe an adaptation of Gourmet's version tucked away on page 68? Technically not. But why not say so anyway, as tribute to one of the trailblazers in bringing sophisticated world-class cooking and travel to home kitchens across the U.S.? And who knows? It might be back someday; look at Polaroid. Perhaps it won't be like a phoenix rising from the ashes; perhaps it will be a pheasant instead.
Chickpea Caldo Verde - My own vegetarian recipe, replicating the spiced flavors of chorizo without the pork.
Ingredients for Broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Pimentón de la Vera, a smoky Spanish paprika, or other more commonly available paprika
Pinch of saffron, gently crushed between your fingertips
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground dried ancho pepper
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, or Italian oregano
10 cups water
2 very large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Ingredients for Finishing
1 bunch kale, any variety, cut into strips after rinsing and removing thick center vein
3 cups cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
Additional salt and pepper to taste
In a very large soup pot or Dutch oven, warm oil very briefly over low heat. Add garlic, pimentón, saffron, cumin, ancho pepper, and oregano. Sizzle mixture, maintaining low heat, until fragrant and garlic is golden but not burned. Add water, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15-20 minutes, depending on variety). Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a stand blender, purée broth until smooth. You can also mash a few of the potatoes to somewhat thicken it, yet keep it chunky. Return to low heat. Add kale and chickpeas, mixing to distribute. Simmer until they are heated through (around 3 minutes) and kale is slightly wilted. Taste for additional salt and pepper. Divide into bowls. Drizzle each serving with olive oil and dot with hot pepper sauce, if desired. Serves 4-6, depending on size of bowls used.
Been There, Done That ~
Leblebi (Tunisian Chickpea Soup)
African Peanut and Yam Soup
Lima Bean and Artichoke Soup
Other People's Eats ~
Fasolatha (Greek Bean Soup)
Spicy Mung Bean Soup with Coconut Milk
More Other People's Eats ~
The good folks at Blogs.com have asked me to compile a list of Top 10 Beautiful Food Blogs. My guest post can be found here. Some are well known, others are recent discoveries, all are a feast for the eyes. If I was free to cite more than ten, my list would certainly be so very much longer.