Calling all kale soup lovers

The Portuguese staple inspires many different recipes.

Kale and Linguica Portuguese Soup. – Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

One of Portugal’s most recognized recipes is caldo verde, a kale-based soup that’s served all over Portugal. Whether you find yourself in a five-star hotel’s restaurant or at a neighbor’s home on the Island, this delicious soup is served with pride. Each family has its own version, each chef creating his or her own twist on the traditional dish. It’s also the best soup to ease you into spring. With a light broth and some hearty greens, it’s a great meal to welcome the new season — while we patiently wait for the winter chill to leave the Island.

Today, I’m sharing my version of this classic soup, which is not by any means traditional. This version includes tomatoes, which is not in the original recipe, but I love the sweetness it adds to the soup. Some people add white beans, as well as other variations like sausages or bacon. What’s your version? You’ll have the opportunity to share it at the upcoming Kale Throwdown event, to be hosted at the Portuguese-American Club on Sunday, April 19, from 5 to 7 pm. There, Islanders from all over will bring their four gallons (that’s the required amount for participation) of kale soup to be judged and awarded in the following categories: Best Kale Soup, Best Alternate Kale Soup, Is It Kale Soup?, and Best Professional Entry. With $10 admission for adults and $5 for children, the event will benefit the Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund, a fund created by Islanders for Islanders in need, and a popular group on Facebook where locals and wash-ashores alike come together for the latest Island news, updates, and more.

“I belong to the nearly 4,000-strong Islanders Talk Facebook page run by Lori Robinson Fisher,” says Jessica Burnham, the ringleader of this Kale Throwdown. “Just before Christmas, I came up with the idea to start a charitable fund built by the members of Islanders Talk. There were about 3,000 members at the time. I figured if every member gave $5, we’d have $15,000 to use to help other Islanders in need going into next holiday season. It seemed there was a new post every day about someone else in our community who was having a really hard time. This was my response to it. I went out and got a tax ID and a bank account, and started the fund. I asked someone from each town to be on the board, and the Islanders Talk Benevolent Fund was up and rolling. The other members include Lori Robinson Fisher, Margaret Oliveira, Debby Lobb Athearn, Laura Bryant German, Corrine Dorsey, and June Manning.”

The next Kale Throwdown planning meeting for the event is Sunday, March 29, at 1 pm at the P.A. Club, and the group is still looking for silent auction donations. If you have any questions or would like to know more about the group and the work they do, join the Islanders Talk group on Facebook.

Kale Linguica Soup

1 pound linguica (Portuguese sausage), finely chopped
3 large carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 medium white or yellow onions, diced small
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
28-oz. can of peeled and diced tomatoes
2 quarts stock (vegetable, chicken, beef — your choice)

In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, sauté the sausage until seared. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Sauté until it is all transparent. Add the kale and can of tomatoes, and stir until combined. Pour in the stock, and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!