Friday, September 23, 2011

Cajun-Portuguese Fusion: Bouillon Verde

The Autumnal Equinox is here, so's soup time!  I'm pretty sure Soup Peddler David Ansel titled his hilarious and fun-to-read cookbook Slow and Difficult Soups in response to the overused "Quick and Easy" that dozens of cookbooks seem to use these days.  Most of David's soups, though, actually are quite simple and speedy to prepare. 

Every year about this time I start thinking about Caldo Verde, a Portuguese soup made with linguica sausage and kale.  That's why I picked up a package of AmyLu's andouille sausage at Costco the other day.

Yes, I know  andouille is Cajun, but Costco didn't have linguica.  Come to find out, I didn't have enough of my delectable Schreiber and Sons kale, either, so I subbed in some of their Brussels sprouts.  Then I decided to add carrots, and some smoked paprika.  Really, it became rather a soup free-for-all, which, I am happy to report, turned out splendidly.

So, herewith my Cajun-Portugese fusion soup.  Caldo Verde is Spanish for green broth, which in French is bouillon vert, so we're calling this Bouillon Verde.  Fair enough?

Adapted from The Soup Peddler's Slow and Difficult Soups by David Ansel

The book calls for browning the sausages first, then sauteeing the veggies in the fat in the pan.  My sausage was, unfortunately, rather low fat, so I couldn't do that.  But if you have fatty sausage, browning it first is the way to go!

3 tablespoons ghee, butter or olive oil

2 onions, quartered and sliced into crescents
1/2 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves chopped
2 cups trimmed Brussels sprouts, coarsely chopped

8 andouille sausages, cut in about 1-1/2 pieces, at an angle for jauntiness
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
a few grinds of black pepper

2 quarts chicken broth or stock

2 or 3 potatoes, peeled (or just well scrubbed, if they're organic), cut into 3/4-inch dice
6 fat carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then into 3/4-inch dice.

1 head garlic (about 8 fat cloves), peeled and coarsely chopped

Salt as needed

Start off by heating the ghee in at least a 6-quart soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, kale and Brussels sprouts as you prepare them, stirring occasionally.  The veggies should begin to soften and perhaps even brown a bit.

Add the sausage pieces and stir, then stir in the paprika, crushed red pepper and black pepper, and cook a few more minutes.

Add the broth, potatoes and carrots, and half the garlic, and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes or so, then stir in the remaining garlic.

Cook 5 to 10 more minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Taste for salt; whether to add any or not depends on the broth you use.  I added 3/4 teaspoon and found it to be just right.

Makes about 8 servings

Costco is now selling this organic chicken "stock" as opposed to the "broth they formerly offered.  The label says "More versatile than broth."  My opinion?  The stock is exactly the same as the former "broth." 

Don't be afraid to buy these lovely branches of Brussels sprouts at Schreiber and Sons' booth at the farmers' markets.  The sprouts pop off by hand quite easily.  Just snap and twist.


  1. I am so happy to find your blog. We are moving to Richland in a couple of weeks from the Seattle area and I was so afraid I would be food challenged. I see from you resources that there are lots of local, organic, and fresh options. I must admit I am spoiled, use to shopping our local co-op and able to find almost everything we need. I love the idea of the Shop the Northwest option. Thanks so much for all the info and your great recipes!

  2. Yay! Indeed, we have many great local food options, and I'm sure there are more that I haven't heard of yet. I think you will LOVE living here ... welcome!!!!

  3. Right now I'm getting a small-size box every week, and I have a lot of trouble getting through it all every week. I live alone, and my cat doesn't help much with the produce :) How big are the winter CSA boxes? The information made them sound pretty large ... so I'm still trying to decide if I should sign up for that or not.

  4. Becky, I'm not a soup person, but must admit, this looks good enough to eat. Also to cook ;-)

  5. Rad Vegan, click on CSA boxes in the categories cloud to see all the boxes from the last two years. That should give you a very accurate idea of your commitment level! It's also fun to share, and a good incentive to try and produce an all-local meal.