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Portuguese Kale Soup

This hearty soup fills the house with an incredible smell, will warm your hearts and bellies when it's cold and deserves serious recognition for its sheer simplicity that delivers complex flavors.

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Portuguese
Keyword chicken soup, kale, Spanish chorizo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 - 6
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from the November 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2-3/4 lb. Spanish chorizo depending on how much chorizo you want in the soup, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper as desired
  • 2 large Russet baking potatoes about 2 lbs., cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 lb. kale preferably organic, with the stems and ribs removed and leaves very thinly sliced (chiffonaded)
  • Add a glug of olive oil a few shots of hot sauce, some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and perhaps a sprinkle of red pepper flakes before serving, depending on how spicy you like your food


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 5-qt. heavy soup pot over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the sausage and let brown, stirring often, for about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl. If you need more oil, add another tablespoon, but the sausage should have left a nice orangy oil in the pot.
  2. Add onion and garlic to oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt (preferably kosher) and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring often, about 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned and translucent.
  3. Add potatoes, water, two Parmesan rinds and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, covered, until potatoes are very tender, which will be about 15-20 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are simmering, rinse the kale, shaking as much of the water off as possible. Grabbing a piece of kale by the stem in one hand, use the other hand to grab the stem and pull in the opposite direction, tearing the kale off the rib. This should happen in one swift move. Set aside the stems, roll up the kale leaves and slice into thin strips. (This cutting technique is called chiffonade.) After cutting the kale, place it in a big bowl. Keep in mind that kale is like spinach in that it will wilt to nothing once it hits the hot broth.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, mash some of them into the broth so it thickens, then add the kale and sausage and simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Taste the broth and, if needed, add some more salt and stir.
  7. Serve soup and top with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan, a shot or two of hot sauce (we used the green Tabasco) and a sprinkle (or not) of red pepper flakes.