When I was a kid, Sunday afternoons were a time when our whole family gathered at my Aunt’s house to spend time together. Generally, we went after Sunday dinner, which was served early because, at least in our house, my Mom always prepared a grandiose and heavy meal that lasted thru the day until we had dessert in the early evening.
Even so, I was always excited when I walked in to see a giant pot of Kale Soup simmering on the stove. This always meant I got to take a bowl home that night! Long after I had already moved to Florida, my Aunt would make and freeze a batch and deliver it to me when she drove down to visit us in Florida and this always brought me much delight.
When I was a teenager, almost ready to graduate High School and go off to college, I asked my Aunt to show me how to make this soup since it has always been my favorite. Since then I’ve come to realize that every family has their own individual recipe for preparing kale soup but at least three ingredients are always the same: potatoes, kale and Portuguese chourico sausage.
Chourico is a smoked, spicy, Portuguese, pork sausage blended with paprika, garlic, and crushed dried red peppers. Linguica is the milder form of chourico sausage. Both are great in this soup and in fact, I use both but you could certainly use one or the other.
My husband and I add double the “normal” amount of kale to really bulk it up without many extra calories. Also, we always add red kidney beans. I understand not everyone likes red kidney beans but they are pretty standard in this dish and I really enjoy them. If you don’t care for kidney beans, replace them with your favorite bean. Cannellini beans, for example, would also work especially well in this soup. I would not, however, omit them totally, in fact, I try to work beans in whenever I can because beans are a power food high in complex carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fiber. They are also low in fat, calories and sodium, and are completely cholesterol-free! Just one cup of cooked beans provides as much as 15 grams of dietary fiber, which is more than half the recommended daily value of 25 grams! I’ve also ready that adding bean into your diet will naturally help reduce cholesterol.
As for the sausage, linguica and chourico at one time was quite a regional food which was hard to obtain in any market outside the Northeast. However, they are more widely available these days and can be found in many different regions of the country. They are sold in the refrigerated food section typically near the hot dogs and smoked chicken sausage selections rather than with the bacon, kielbasa, and other fresh breakfast sausages. This can make them sort of tricky to find so if you do not readily see it, ask your grocer. Our local grocer will special order products as well and start carrying them on the shelves if you request them. But should your grocer not carry this particular sausage you could certainly substitute Kielbasa or even a spicy, Italian sausage as well. Please note, however, that linguica, chourico, nd kielbasa are already cooked, smoked sausages. If you’ are substituting a fresh sausage like hot Italian, you will need to cook it prior to dicing it and adding it into the soup.
This soup is definitely one that tastes better “the second day” after the flavors have had time to meld. This soup comes together rather quickly and easily so I usually make mine early in the morning and give it time to hang out in the pot and create a great flavored broth. We eat it in the evening with a hunk of crusty bread to really soak up all the juices.
This makes a lot of soup.. about 8 to 10 servings! Luckily, this hearty soup also freezes well. This is especially nice for weekday lunches. We freeze it in serving sized portions and I just toss one in my lunchbox as I head out for the evening to work. Reheat in the microwave and Viola! Yumminess from my freezer!
Portuguese Potato, Sausage and Kale Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 pounds kale, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 (15-ounce) cans light or dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound diced chourico sausage, casing removed
- 1 pound diced linguica sausage, casing removed
- 2-quart chicken broth
- 2 quarts water
- Heat oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat, add onions, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring
- Add garlic and kale to the pot. Cover pot and wilt greens about 2 minutes. Season with salt and
- pepper. Add beans, chourico, potatoes and broth to the pot and bring soup to a full boil. Reduce
- heat back to medium and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.