Saturday, October 31, 2009

Goodbye to Gourmet - Chickpea Caldo Verde

Chickpea Caldo Verde

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.

Dinosaur Kale
Dinosaur Kale
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.
This recipe is for Jeanne of Cook Sister!, sparkling hostess of October's MLLA - 16. Jeanne's round-up will be online very soon. Do stop by for an eyeful of delicious dishes from around the world.

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 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.


  1. thanks for this recipe - I had been trying to think of this soup a while back and not able to find it because my mind couldn't remember the name - I love your version and the photo of the kale

    also enjoyed your top 10 blogs on - very inspiring - already discovered some new ones

  2. Beautiful soup, Susan. It has all ingredients I love, so I am sure I would like to have the bowl in the photo. The name "caldo verde" sounds intriguing to my Italian ears, as "verde" (green) is not a concept I readily associate with "caldo" (warm).

  3. So sad about Gourmet stopping! A great tribute...

    Your Caldo Verde is so delicious looking and your shota are wonderful!



  4. The future son-in-law makes a delicious Portuguese Kale Soup...I need to learn. It certainly was a sad day when Gourmet closed it's presses.

  5. I love that photo of the knobbly kale. I've been experimenting with chickpea soups and I have some chorizo with me - let's see!

  6. You're reminding me that I got the most giant bunch of kale in my CSA share next week. Oh the stress of using it all up before I leave for a long weekend away next weekend. That looks gorgeous.

  7. Thank you for this recipe! It sounds delicious. I've never heard of caldo verde before, but am sure I'll be eating it soon!

  8. Such a gorgeous, glorious wintery recipe, and a beautiful, fortuitous tribute to Gourmet, a magazine that will be sadly missed, but happily remembered through your soup!

  9. After reading this post a couple of days ago, I ran out and bought the last issue of Gourmet. I heard an interview with Ruth Reichl the other day on NPR - seems she didn't learn of the end of Gourmet until the last issue had already gone to press!

    Love your soup - and love the twist on the flavors to eliminate the chorizo without eliminating the flavor!

  10. What a beautiful soup! We really enjoy eating kale. I will have to give this recipe a try. (And I'm still crying in my soup over Gourmet...such a loss.)

  11. I am also hoping that one of these days Gourmet will be back. Until then, I try to keep myself busy by catching up on all the recipes I never got a chance to make. This looks like it may have to be next one. Thank you for the great ideas and beautiful pictures.

  12. Such a comfort meal! It looks amazing :)

  13. Thanks so much for this recipe, we had it for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious- we didn't miss the sausage at all.

  14. Hooray, hooray -- a vegetarian version of this soup! It's on every menu in the many Portuguese restaurants in my area, and because I don't eat pork, I never order it. I'm bookmarking this one.

  15. Johanna - Thanks. This truly does taste like the "real" soup with chorizo.

    Thank you, Simona. Warm green is unusual to me, as well, but I've had green habanero sauce, so I am a believer. ; D

    Chakhlere - Thank you!

    Rosa - Thanks. It's tough these days for traditional media. Too bad, though. Being propped up b/4 a PC screen just isn't as comfy and leisurely as the truly printed word.

    Val - We should all marry into families who are good cooks. : )

    Thanks, Preeti!

    Sra - Thanks. Just leave out the spices and fry up chopped the chorizo w/ the garlic, but do add the hot sauce at the end. You and me both like that extra hot kick in the pants. ;D

    Hi, Kelly. Thank you. I hope you've put your giant kale to good use by now. This soup would be happy to help you.

    Ricki - It's an easy, hearty soup that really does warm you up.

    Astra - Thank you. I'm still smiling at the synchronicity of it all.

    Toni - Thank you. A bigger shock for Reichl, I'm sure, than for us.

    Welcome, Phoo-D! Thanks so much. This is one of the definitive recipes for kale. Hope you try it. Thanks for visiting. : }

    Hi, Frenchie. Good to see you! Thank you. Going through old Gourmet issues will have more meaning now.

    Karine - Welcome! Thanks so much for your kind words.

    Rachel - Thank you. Your blog seems to be blank. Too bad. I would have liked to check it out.

    Lydia - I gave up pork years ago, but do love the flavors of chorizo. Hope it works for you, too.

    Hi, My Kitchen! Thanks very much. Welcome!

  16. I am finally catching up with all my favourite blogs.
    And I shall definitely make this. I have had a veg version of this in Portugal at a friend's place and would love try your version.

  17. We just had this soup for dinner, and we loved it! We're new to kale, so I've been looking for recipes for it, and this was one of the only vegetarian soups I've found with it. Thanks for sharing!