I promised I would venture back closer to home with my food, and this weeks post is just that. One of the wonders of organic veg boxes are the surprises you get as the seasons change, this week had one of the those surprises Cavolo Nero. An Italian cabbage used in the dish ‘ribollita‘ it can also be used in one of Portugal’s national dishes Caldo Verde (green broth).
I have been off work all week with Flu and completely out of kilter food wise, so the arrival of the veg box was as excuse to try to find something simple and healthy to eat, which was also quick and would not take too much effort, even doing the simplest of tasks was exhausting.
A chance trip to buy some of my favourite bread, (which does not cause my stomach to grumble due to too much yeast and chemicals), and a well know supermarket magazine found its way into the basket. (Begins with W!). Leafing through the pages and staring me in the face were the dark green leaves of Cavolo Nero, and some dishes to make it more interesting including Caldo Verde, from Portugal. A quick search on the Internet and I had all the details I needed to have a go, and here is how it went.
Luckily, all the ingredients were to hand, including some Chorizo from our local farm shop which is very good. Making the dish is easy, chop the Onion, into a pan with a good glug of Olive oil, followed by Garlic and a couple of Chorizo Sausages (with their skins on). Cook on a low-medium heat for 5 – 10 mins until the Onion is translucent. Then, add some quartered Potatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes or so. I believe the original dish used water to boil the Potatoes, I used a light Chicken Stock (750ml for 2 people), to add some subtle background flavour.
The Potatoes, Onions and Chorizo cook, covered in the stock for about 25-30 minutes until they are falling apart, remove the Chorizo and blitz with a stick blender or food processor and you are nearly finished. I used a whole head of Cavaolo Nero to finish the dish of, which was sliced finely as a Chiffonade. You can see the blended Potato, Onion and Garlic mixture below and the chopping above!
Add the Cavalo Nero and simmer gently for another 30 – 45 minutes, depending on how thick you want the end result. The Soup gets greener (and thicker) the longer you cook it.Whilst your Soup is gently simmering you can finish off the Chorizo. Remove the skins, slice into 3-4mm pieces and fry in some Olive Oil until crispy. Put to one side keeping the Red Spicy Oil and Chorizo together as it will add a final flavour burst to the dish.
Believe me, its knockout. I am not really a soup fan but sitting down to eat this with the missus was just fantastic. The combination of flavours and textures was beautiful, the Chorizo kick, the slightly bitter Greens, the balanced flavours of the broth and occasional piece of Potato, where I had not done a thorough job with the blender.
Other than peeling and chopping, the mise en place is negligible and the Caldo Verde took little effort to make, but packed a massive hit of flavours (and is cheap to make). So if you get struck down withe Flu, or fancy trying one of Portugal’s national dishes have a go at this one, you will be pleased you did.
It went perfectly with Richard Bertinet’s ‘proper’ bread. Yummmmmmmmm
Until next time…………..L8ers……………