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Friday, February 10, 2017

Caldo Verde With and Without a Pressure Cooker


You might have noticed that I am not publishing new recipes quite as often as I used to lately, but, trust me, I have a good excuse. A few months ago, I was hired on to design the menu for a new spot in Toronto's east end, The Kingston Social House. They wanted to launch a wine/cocktail spot with a small but tasty menu that only opens from Thursday to Saturday nights. There are lots of other exciting things happening on the other days - Brunch on the weekends by Thick Cut brunch, regular community based workshops, an upcoming Tuesday night Tapa thing by a group of chefs.... it's bringing the little neighbourhood of Birchcliffe Village back to life!



Kingston Social Nights belongs to the women


Now that I am the executive cooker lady at The Kingston Social, aside from the regular menu, I have to come up a weekly special as well as a soup and this eats up a ton of my cooking energy. If you live in Toronto, I invite you to come to the Social for a drink and something yummy to eat, say hi and buy me a drink! Hopefully, as I get used to the new demands of this job, I will be actually get back to cooking in my own kitchen again and stop taking my family out to the pub to eat wings and drink beer and will get back on track as far as sharing more great recipes with you.

Since this weekend is right before Valentine's Day, we decided to do a prix fix meal that could be shared because it's more romantic to share and if you are one of those weirdos that don't like to let your loved ones eat from the same bowl as you, I don't trust you. No Valentine's Day for you.


These clams are my favourite Portuguese dish 
We have been planning a family trip for March break for a number of reasons. We were supposed to go away for Christmas but that fell through but it's more than that.

 The Kid, who was a wee man of 11 when I started this blog in 2010, is graduating from high school this spring and will start University in the fall. For most of his young life, he was obsessed with Japan and we had promised him a trip to Japan if he did well, made honour roll every year and didn't do anything to make us want to sell him but over the last few years, his love of Japan has wained and he was no longer as interested in going there. Instead, we had decided that we would return to Portugal, a country that all three of us fell in love with. After spending the last month planning that trip, all I could think of were these amazing buttery clams with Vihno Verde and Cilantro so I didn't have to think twice about what the sharing special would be for our Valentine's Day prix fix special.

Once I decided on the clams, the soup could be no other than Caldo Verde, a soup that is to Portugal what Chicken Noodle Soup is to North America. 

This is not a complicated soup and it doesn't really take all that long to make it on the stove but I had so many other things to prepare that I was afraid that I would get distracted and forget it on the stove so I decided to use the Instant Pot to make it and although it's not really a time saver, it was really nice to be able to just turn on the pot and walk away. 

This soup is filling enough that you can make a meal out of it if you serve it with some crusty bread and a big salad and a glass or two of Vihno Verde.

Oh, and as it happens, we are NOT going to Portugal after all. Now we are going to Paris with a three day side trip to Rome because the opportunity presented itself at the last minute and although I once lived in Paris and have been to Rome a bunch of times, it was was so long ago that it no longer even counts. As much as I am dying to return to Portugal, it will be so much fun to go to two new cities that the boys have never been to and since I have not been there for over 30 years (AAACCCCKKKK), it will all be new to me again too.

If you don't follow me on facebook or twitter or instagram, you might want to rectify that now because I will be sharing photos all the damned time on our trip and you KNOW we will be eating our faces off.



Caldo Verde

serves 6-8


5 or 6 tbls olive olive oil
approx 300 grams  chouriço, linguiça sausage or Spanish Chorizo will work too, sliced into thin coins
2 leeks, washed and sliced
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
   6 potatoes, peeled and diced
   2 litres of chicken stock (if making stove top, add an extra cup (250ml) of stock)
   2 bunches of kale ( approx 445g), remove the stalks and julienned very finely
   kosher salt and black pepper



Pressure cooker:
   Hit sauté and when it says "HOT", add the oil and throw in the sausage, cooking it until it starts to look a bit browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

   Add the leeks into the pot, sauté for about 3 or 4 minutes, add in the garlic and saute for another minute before adding in the chicken stock and potatoes. Check to see if it needs salt and if so, add it now.

   Lock the lid, make sure the valve is set to seal and program 5 minutes, High Pressure.

   When the time is up, do a quick release, use an immersion blender to blend the soup completely. Add in the kale, program it back to sauté and bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook another fiver or ten minutes until the kale is tender. Return the sausage to the pot and serve.

Stove top:
   Heat a large soup pot on the stove over med heat and sauté the sausage until it starts to brown. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

    Add the leeks into the pot, sauté for about 3 or 4 minutes, add in the garlic and sauté for another minute before adding in the chicken stock and potatoes. Check to see if it needs salt and if so, add it now.

    Bring it back to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender and then use an immersion blender to blend the soup completely. Add in the kale, and bring the mixture back to a simmer and cook another five or ten minutes until the kale is tender. Return the sausage to the pot and serve.