Caldo Verde

caldo verde

Don’t rush through the process but enjoy the mindfulness, or the Zen, of cooking. Isn’t the fragrance of homemade soup wonderful? It makes you glad to be alive or at least at your own house for dinner. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Remember I once told you I had a private ‘practice’ blog a year before I launched Sharing the Journey? Well here’s a wee post I did back in the autumn of 2008.  I’ve guessed from the response to my last post that I’m not the only one who has an almost spiritual reverence for making a pot of stew or soup.


Vegetarian caldo verde

It’s very cold today. Passers-by look drawn, pinched and tight faced, huddling into the winter clothes they’ve been avoiding for as long as possible. Although it’s a bright blue day, people don’t seem to be sharing my delight at the autumn colours or the drifts of leaves. The cold is all pervasive, slicing its way through clothes and into the conversations I’ve overheard.

Here’s one of the soups I serve my family on days like this. It’s very loosely based on a soup I loved when I lived in Portugal, caldo verde (green soup.) We’re not vegetarian, and the original soup has slices of spicy sausage, pepperoni or chorizo in it, but the kids don’t notice if I don’t add meat because I substitute the spices and flavours used to give European sausage its distinctive smoky tang.

caldo verde ingredientsTo a large soup pan I add water, some sea salt, 200g of shredded curly kale, 1kg of small, scrubbed but unpeeled new potatoes chopped into chunks, a glug or two of extra virgin olive oil, two cloves of garlic and two or three teaspoonfuls of smoked paprika. I boil it all until the potatoes are cooked, whazz everything together with a hand blender and serve in earthenware handpainted bowls with homebaked seeded bread.

Smoky, heavenly soup with a high smugness quotient! Mmmm…

(If you’re not vegetarian, you can throw in 100g of thinly sliced chorizo before you boil everything, saving a few slices as a garnish.)


I have lots of favourite recipes from my years abroad; please let me know if you’d like me to share some more of them here.


  1. Hi Janice,

    Mmmmm! This recipe sounds tasty.

    I love the part where you say “add one or two glug of olive oil”. Like you, I’ve cooked long enough where I don’t measure stuff (unless it’s a brand new recipe), but instead just eyeball.

    Speaking of recipes, I always enjoy the tried and true ones others share. In fact, I contributed a favorite of mine for the free ecookbook Patricia did for UNICEF. It’s on her site at Patricia’s Wisdom (click on the Harvest Potluck link) My recipe is for “Rich and Tasty Scones” and is the last one in the book.

    In response to your question, I’d love to see more of your favorite recipes.

    I’ll be trying the soup soon. Yum!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..One, Or A Million =-.

  2. Hi Janice .. that was so interesting to read the recipe for caldo verde – simple, but I bet pipingly delicious. When I get to eat soup I always think I should make it more often .. it is delicious. Sometimes I do here – a bit like you .. a potage .. and it is lovely. A huge bowl of soup is so delicious to share at lunch with lots of crusty bread, cheese, some salad pieces .. warming and wholesome.

    Yes – me too -I’d love to have some more soups recipes – years ago I used to make a lot of lettuce soup and gazpacho .. both delicious cold soups .. warm weather first though.

    I loved your description of pinched faces .. having just come down from cold, snowy, wet, thick grey hanging mist, Leeds!! there were a few of those up there .. Let’s hope spring appears sometime soon .. enjoy the weekend – good you’re back Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Groundhog Day, Candlemas and Jannie the First … =-.

  3. Thanks for popping over, Lori, Barbara and Hilary; I really appreciate it. I’m trying to persuade myself that sharing a recipe, song, photo, book recommendation or quote will have to do for now until I’m ready to risk getting back into a blog-reading and writing rythm, but I’d be lying if I said losing hundreds of readers wasn’t hard, even if the responsibility lies squarely with me. As was to be expected, many regular readers have found other blogging cafés to chat in, and new comments boxes to share their coaching, writing and clutterbusting passions in, but keeping a tiny channel open is all I can manage at the moment. Please believe that I’m truly grateful for your visits and that even if I only manage a few words a week in the coming months, they’ll be shared with love.

    1. Thanks, Lori. I agree. I know I’m doing the right thing, weaning myself off daily fixes of what is a very addictive process, one that’s never-ending as well as fluid. Every day I log back on to dip my toes or paddle in blogging waters, I’m learning more about my blogging needs, compulsions, passions and habits, and I’m getting closer to working out what a healthy blogging balance would look and feel like for me. Hence the soup! I’ve been taking better care of myself at every level.

      You’d think as a coach I’d never let myself get tired, overwhelmed or out of balance, but it’s like I tell the sneering cynics in my ‘real’ life who don’t ‘get’ what coaching is all about: what matters is how we combine our own essence, life experiences, training and skills to contribute something to the world. A facial reconstructive surgeon doesn’t have to be born ‘beautiful’ to be able to help others. I’ve known for years that it’s my own vulnerabilities and challenges that have added extra depth and empathy to my coaching and writing.

      I’ve received and co-created many a miracle in my life, and it’s that grace I want to share with others. If you’ve never needed or prayed for help, support and guidance, how can you ever know or share the wonderful experience of having those prayers answered?

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