Portugal: Caldo Verde

At some point, given my family connections, I really did have to cook something Portuguese. Tessa Kiros describes Caldo Verdes as potentially the ‘culinary equivalent of the Portuguese flag’, and all the Portuguese people I know really like this soup. It’s essentially a potato soup with chorizo and cabbage, but don’t let that put you off, its much better than it sounds. My mother-in-law has made this for us while visiting Portugal, and the recipe here a is a slight alteration of that, along with inspiration from some of the other recipes I have seen for it (from Nigel Slater in the Guardian, Jamie Oliver, and the BBC ). You could serve this as a starter, side dish or main course. Traditionally it’s often served with a Portuguese bread called broa, a type of cornbread, and I have a recipe for that to post on here soon. The cabbage used is of the dark variety, I think in Portugal it’s called couve gallego, but you could use kale, cavolo nero, or any of these kinds of greens. To cut the cabbage leaves, cut off the stems, then role up the leaves like a cigar and then cut off thin strips.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 400g potatoes (peeled and cut to chunks)
  • 100g dark cabbage (stems removed)
  • 40g chorizo
  • chilli oil for drizzling, if you like it with a bit of spice, or a bit of paprika mixed with olive oil

Caldo verde


  1. Heat the oil in large pan, add the onions, and cook on a medium heat for  around 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and potato pieces, cook for another 2-3 minutes making sure the garlic doeskin’ burn.
  3. Add 1 litre of water and bay leaf, and bring to the boil.
  4. Add 1 tsp salt, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes and remove from the heat.
  5. At the same time, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the chopped cabbage and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove 2 spoonfuls of potato from the pan and set aside ,and remove the bay leaf.
  7. Purees the soup under smooth and return to the heat.
  8. Scoop out cabbage  from the other pan and add to the potato mixture, and around 1 cup (250ml) of the cooking water. Simmer for around 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
  9. Meanwhile cook the chorizo in another pan for a few minutes until crispy, then add to the soup.
  10. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes and serve.

Portugal Flag