15 Feb2010


I managed to get roughly 15-18 medium sized collard leaves after “de-bugging” them from the earlier purchase, here. The obvious use might have been slowly stewed collards with some salt pork, but actually the sound of that wasn’t too appealing to me. So I went on the hunt for alternative recipes. I found a couple of references to a Portuguese soup called Caldo Verde (literally “hot greens”) and I figured I could make a pretty decent version with the ingredients we had in the fridge and larder, so a Caldo Verde it would be.

But first a little detour. My paternal grandmother was a native of Mactan, and in our younger years, on summer vacations spent with “Lola”, she would mention that we had to be tough and determined, as we were likely descendants of Lapu-Lapu, the dude man that killed Magellan 500+ years ago. It would be easy to dismiss such an assertion without say, DNA proof, but actually, considering that there might have only been a few hundred or thousand at most locals on the island of Mactan in the 1500’s, if my lola’s family had ALWAYS hailed from the island, there was indeed a good chance we were somehow related to the Magellan slayer. And since few recall that Magellan was in fact Portuguese, not Spanish, another interesting tidbit comes into play. On my maternal side, a curious uncle and respected academic has apparently traced the family tree on that side of the family back to a Portuguese ancestor in the 17th or 16th century or so. Probably some randy galleon deck hand without ready access to latex, though I don’t wish to offend, so I will quote the official family line that the ancestor was probably a trader or merchant. :) Hence, with my rare bounty of collards, I decided to try a Portuguese soup in honor of the ancestors, both slayers and slayees.


This is pauper food. Comforting, delicious pauper food. I have brought it up a few notches with the addition of some ingredients but essentially, it is true to its origins. First, I threw a ham bone from the freezer into a stock pot and boiled it for an hour or so to make a ham stock (others use chicken stock). Next I sauteed some sliced onions and garlic in some olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Do not burn the garlic, just bring it to the slightly golden color before adding in the ham stock. Next add a couple or more sliced (small thin slices) potatoes and boil them until tender, say 15-20 minutes. I then added some sliced leftover ham, several cups of collards, several cups of napa cabbage (I didn’t think I had enough collards), some red pepper flakes, some chopped Italian parsley, and seasoned the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Add some sliced chorizo at the last minute. The collards only need a few minutes to cook. Serve the soup hot for a hearty meal in a bowl, or add a slice of country bread to make it more filling. This was delicious. The soup had depth of flavor and body that isn’t common in something that took less than half an hour to make. The greens are very heatlhy, the stock a little less so due to the fat from the ham, but overall this was incredibly satisfying, easy to make and delicious to eat.



  1. frenchadobo says:

    it looks like the soup we had in san sebastian, forgot the name of the soup though. the only difference was it has garlic croutons on top!

    Feb 15, 2010 | 6:04 am


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  3. betchay says:

    I think my lola had a version of that but it was local pechay instead of your collard greens!

    Feb 15, 2010 | 7:01 am

  4. junb says:

    Looks yummy and comforting especially after a Chinese New Year festivities here eating all the artery clogging food :).

    Feb 15, 2010 | 8:05 am

  5. Jack Hammer says:

    I knew it….some sixth sense was telling me we are related on the Portuguese side….muito Obrigado…if I keep your Ma’s photo close to my Ma’s Photo..they will definitely look like sisters

    Feb 15, 2010 | 12:43 pm

  6. zena says:

    I did something like this recently using kale. I just wanted to experiment and it turned out great. Cabbage aside, just replace the collard greens with the kale and it was exactly the same. Wonderful, inexpensive soup for the winter.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 1:54 pm

  7. tina says:

    will cook this on wednesday:)

    Feb 15, 2010 | 2:36 pm

  8. joyce says:

    id like to try this but dont have access to chorizo, will italian sausage do?

    Feb 15, 2010 | 3:35 pm

  9. Footloose says:

    What´s curious to me is although by right (through the original and the amended Treaty of Tordesillas), the Philippines belonged to Portugal, once the Spaniards staked its claim, they pretty well stayed out of each other´s hairs in those parts. I suspect it was a payback for the horrendous encroachment over large areas in South America that should have belonged to Spain but instead became Portuguese in the consolidation of Brazilian territories.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 5:15 pm

  10. Mike says:

    Excellent dish! Doesn’t it mean “green soup”?

    Feb 15, 2010 | 6:57 pm

  11. deebee says:

    congratulations, MM, for this tribute to a well-loved Portuguese fare. i, myself, am not a big fan of caldo verde, but i agree it is comfort food, and now perfect for the wet, gray, cold, and windy weather we’re having these days here in Portugal. just a few comments: you got the essentials right, and overall i would say this is a slightly sophisticated, and more tasty, version. in the original, the potatoes are just thrown into the water to boil and soften. the garlic and onions are even optional (also thrown into the water with the rest, not sauteéd like how you did it and how i do it too). sometimes, leek is added (works works great in these potato-based soups). i put in choriço twice — first, a few pieces of the choriço together with the vegetables, for flavour (it’s a no-no here to put Knorr bouillon or something similar), and the second time, as you did, towards the end. i use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables before adding the leaves. also, to make it quintessentially portuguese, olive oil is added just before serving (not while cooking).

    i’m curious about the colour of your caldo verde — is the yellow from the ham bone? it does make it look more interesting than the original version — which is dirtyish white (not too appealing, in my view).

    Feb 15, 2010 | 8:06 pm

  12. silly lolo says:

    What a coincidence! My Guardian Angel daughter called last night and asked if I would like to try her new found recipe for Caldo Verde.
    She is using left over Xmas ham/bone, portuguese sausage from Maui, and Kale for the major greens. Slow cooked beans of some sort and potatoes are in the mix as well. She actually cooked it last nite but preferred to serve it the next day (typical for thick, hearty soups).
    Footloose: “Liempo always leads to the loin” (Fugawi Tribal proverb). Oh, and Cindy couldn’t come out to play – her husband was home!

    Feb 15, 2010 | 8:32 pm

  13. Connie C says:

    Ha, HA, HA. silly lolo is as hot as MM’s caldo verde….. y caliente! A waker upper this chilly morning west of the Potomac River. I think I will make soup for dinner tonight.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 9:54 pm

  14. rachel says:

    this soup is vey similar to olive garden’s zuppa toscana. italian sausage works great, joyce. just take it out of the casing and brown it first.my family loves this soup. i should make some today.thanks mm.i’ll try your version.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 10:41 pm

  15. Footloose says:

    Sillylolo, I almost ran into the Fuguwi tribe here in Mato Grosso but ended up with the one Claude Levi Strauss lived with in the thirties.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 11:19 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    Silly lolo, you have been having an attack of the “greens” lately. :) deebee, yes, the slightly orange tinge is from the vast amounts of paprika in the chorizo bilbao. Before I put the chorizo, it was a milky white and somewhat unappetizing color. :) Mike, yes, it does mean green soup, but literally translated “hot greens”… Joyce, if you use another dense sausage, it will probably work. You might want to add a couple of dashes of paprika to add flavor and color. betchay, I could see this working with pechay.

    Feb 16, 2010 | 10:06 am

  17. ragamuffin girl says:

    I always have this at my fave resto in Macau. It is processed there though and is more like a creamy soup, but delicious nonetheless. Happy CNY!

    Feb 16, 2010 | 11:23 am

  18. deebee says:

    MM, just a minor correction — caldo verde in english is “green broth”, caldo being broth (in the way we use it in tagalog). to say “hot greens” in Portuguese would be “verduras quente.”

    Feb 16, 2010 | 7:16 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    deebee, thanks for that, now I know better. :)

    Feb 16, 2010 | 7:56 pm


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