Saturday, July 5, 2014

Soup and Soccer

If you haven't figured it out by now, our family enjoys coming up with some rather quirky rationales for the meals that we prepare. While we are not exactly what one would consider a sports fanatic-type family, we do tend to use sporting events as opportunities to explore new cuisine.
My husband and I are also the types of parents who like to ensure that our children have opportunities to enrich their learning over the summer break. (Insert eye rolling here.) I decided that the World Cup provided a great context for a summer enrichment activity. 
Our daughter's initial task was to look up the three teams that the US played in the first round of the tournament. She then selected one of the three countries as her focus. Her selection was Portugal. 
Over the course of five days, she learned different aspects about Portugal. For example, on Day 1, she learned about Portugal's geography. Her "aha moment" was learning that Portugal was located in Europe and not South America. (Insert my eye rolling here.)
Other enrichment activities included learning a little about Portugal's history, its major industries, and its arts and culture. As it turns out, Portugal is noted for some impressive tile work known as azulejo. Here is a picture:
Her final learning activity had to do with, you guessed it, food. Her assignment was to learn a little about Portuguese cuisine and then find a recipe to prepare. She was told to keep in mind the availability of ingredients, the ease of preparation, and whether she would actually be willing to eat it. Her choice was a soup called Caldo Verde, which essentially means green soup. This soup is traditionally made with potatoes, collard greens or kale, and linguica sausage. Linguica sausage is made from pork and looks like a Portuguese bratwurst. 
We couldn't find linguica sausage in our local stores so we substituted chorizo sausage. It turned out great.

Here are the ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium sized onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
6 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 quarts water (I would imagine that you could substitute chicken broth if you wanted to. If you do, anticipate using less salt).
6 ounces linguica sausage, thinly sliced (as I already mentioned, we substituted chorizo sausage)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound kale, rinsed and julienned

Directions:
  1. In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until onion starts to become transparent. 
  2. Stir in potatoes and stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Pour in the water, bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 20 minutes or until potatoes start to become mushy. 
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, brown the sausage in a skillet over medium-low heat until cooked through. Drain the fat.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the potatoes in the saucepan.
  5. Stir in the sausage, salt, and peppers. Allow soup to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the kale and allow to cook until it is tender. I found that it took about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add any additional seasonings to taste.
  7. Serve with warm, fresh bread.

Here is a picture of how we sliced the potatoes.
Here is a picture of how we chopped up the kale. The next time, I will probably chop it a little more finely. This was actually the first time I have used kale in a recipe.
We actually enjoyed this soup quite a bit and will be making it again. Now we will have to see what other types of international cuisine we wish to attempt in honor of the teams that are continuing on in the World Cup.