Saturday, September 26, 2009

Portuguese Chouriço and Kale Soup

The first day of autumn was a few days ago, on September 22nd. Since then, the weather has started getting a little cooler. In fact, today is a cool, gray, rainy day—the perfect inspiration for a hearty soup. I used garden fresh kale from our latest CSA bag, and I used Mexican chorizo, since that’s what was available at my supermarket.

There are differences, though, between
Mexican chorizo and Portuguese chouriço. Chorizo can be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked, but in Europe it is more frequently a fermented cured smoked sausage, in which case it is usually sliced and eaten without cooking. Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers. Mexican chorizo usually has the consistency of ground beef, though drier, due to the high chile powder content. Another similar type of sausage is linguiça, which is a form of Portuguese cured pork sausage seasoned with onions, garlic, and paprika. Both the linguiça and chouriço are made from pork, both have the basic same spicing, but linguiça is cured with red wine and more paprika, neither is smoked but air dried to firm them up and both have to be cooked. Both linguiça and chouriço are solid, while the Mexican chorizo is very different in texture—softer and mushier.

The delicious, hot, steaming bowl of soup on this damp autumn day really hit the spot. The combination of healthy ingredients simmers into a spicy and flavorful comfort food.

Portuguese Chouriço and Kale Soup, Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium white waxy potatoes, like yukon golds, peeled and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 pound kale, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and pepper
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzos (chick peas), drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound diced chouriço, casing removed
1 quart chicken broth
Warm, crusty bread

Heat oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. Add potatoes and onions, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic, bay leaves, and kale to the pot. Cover pot and wilt greens 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomatoes, chourico, and broth to the pot and bring soup to a full boil. Reduce heat back to medium and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Serve soup with hunks of crusty bread and butter.

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