Meals that made America great - Caldo Verde
Here’s how a Portuguese dish found a home in Rhode Island, courtesy of America The Cookbook
Wherever the Portuguese settle abroad, caldo verde follows. It's a green broth whose basic ingredients are collard greens such as cabbage or kale, potatoes, olive oil and salt accompanied by chourico, a cousin of chorizo. With large Portuguese communities having settled in Massachusetts, New Jersey and in particular Rhode Island, the soup is a further addition to the vast melting pot of American dishes.
Frequently celebrated in the novels of 19th century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, caldo verde is popular at celebrations, a reminder for those far from the old country of traditional Portugal. It's consumed at weddings, birthdays and religious festivals. Indeed, it is not dissimilar, especially when the chorizo is replaced with ham, of Italo-American wedding soup.
The recipe included in America The Cook Book sticks essentially to the traditional ingredients, as well as garlic and basic seasoning. The potatoes are added first giving them time to soften, followed by the kale and then finally the chorizo. The result is the authentic taste of Rhode Island.