Letting Life Lead
Welcome to another exciting episode of Cooking Without a Recipe! As some of you know, cooking with me is terribly inconsistent and often devoid of more than nudges in the right direction unless I am using someone else’s recipe. In such cases, I may often just change things or not follow the directions exactly.
This soup come from my grandmother’s house whom everyone just calls Ma. If you are wanting to get a actual recipe out of the 91 year old lady, you’ll be waiting a long time. If you are lucky you’ll get a, “You know. Enough,” or maybe a, “Just a little bit,” or a generous, “As much as you like.”
A cape verdean version other than the one I know did not turn up in any Internet searches, but I did find one for the Portuguese style Caldo Verde at All Recipes.
Let’s get cooking! Good luck!
kale (chopped) — I used 1/2 of a 1lb bag
kidney beans (cooked) — I used 2 giant cans, one can equivalent to two standard cans
macaroni (elbow macaroni) — I used about three cups…maybe 4
onion (I don’t think my grandmother uses it but I do so etimes) — I used one medium
garlic (definitely not used by my grandmother) — I used about three or four large cloves this time. I leave out onions and garlic if I have found the right sausage
Gaspar’s Portugues chourico (Chorizo is an adequate substitute but not at all the same. Andouille is a pretty good stand-in)
potatoes (optional) — I don’t often use potato. This time I used about four medium or so unpeeled because I’m lazy.
ketchup — (yes, ketchup. Use…uh…enough.)
salt to taste
water to cover
Cook it long, cook it slow
Toss it all in a big pot and cover with water except for macaroni. I did decide to use potatoes and I added them in diced after the kale had been cooking for about ten minutes. If you decide to go all vegetarian, I highly suggest you add more spices (sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper) and may even some red wine, port, (or red wine vinegar) balanced out with a bit of sugar. Some fat wouldn’t hurt either, so you may want to saute the onion and garlic in some oil for a vegetarian dish. If you are the adventurous type you can make your own Chourico if you are so inclined, but flavor mimicry is suitable! My grandmother usually puts in two inch chunks of sausage that everyone searches in the pot to fish them out, but you can instead slice or dice to make it stretch further. Chorizo is an okay substitute and is what a was available to me because the sausage is mainly local to my birth city, but chorizo sausage really is not the same. Portuguese Chourico is firmer and has it’s own flavor profile. If you can’t get Gaspar’s, another brand will work. Andouille sausage is an adequate copy cat.
Cook until the kale is well cooked (well cooked kale becomes soft and almost sweet) and potato is done and then put in the macaroni to cook another twelve minutes or so. Add more ketchup and seasonings as you desire. Now, I like my macaroni to get overcooked, big and fat in this soup so I put it in earlier and cook them longer before serving. If you don’t like your kale too al dente cook it less, but it will taste more “green”or make the soup a day ahead and let it sit overnight and reheat the next day for super tender kale and an amazing flavor.
The flavor of the soup intensifies as it sits so it is best eaten on the second and third day which is why you want to make a giant pot of it. I am especially fond of Day 3 Kale Soup when the macaroni is completely saturated and falling apart! Customize it how you like. I don’t always put potatoes in it (it does change the flavor). If you like beans more than kale then dice the kale smaller, use less, and up the beans. You can use white kidney beans, however, the flavor of the white is not as hearty as the red, in my opinion.
If you try this recipe link back and tell me what you think! Have you ever heard of or tried Portuguese Chourico?
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
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