Nothing warms you up on a rainy day (or night) quite like a bowl of homemade soup. From preparing the ingredients to enjoying the smell of the soup as it simmers in the kitchen to filling a bowl to the brim to savoring every spoonful while lounging on the couch under a blanket -- I love everything about homemade soup.
One of my favorite soups to make is my grandmother Portuguese Soup. Not only is it full of chunks of chouriço and potatoes and pieces of hearty kale, but it is also full of memories. I can't even begin to count how many times I've been welcomed by the smell of this soup cooking when walking into my grandparents' house. It's one of the first things I ask my grandmother to make if I'm planning a visit, second only to her Linguiça and Peppers.
While it's not required, this soup gets a lot of its flavor from the soup bone placed into the soup pot with the water, chicken broth, and chouriço. I've made the soup with and without it, and my grandmother is right, if you can get a soup bone from your local market, then use it. I got this bad boy for a whopping fifty cents and it was worth every single penny.
If you can't find Portuguese chouriço, then go ahead and substitute Spanish chorizo. The key is to choose a sausage that has a high level of smokiness to it as well as some spice, as the potatoes and kale don't impart that much flavor.
Keep it no-fuss when it comes to preparing the kale. After washing, you can rip the leaves into bite-size pieces rather than chopping the kale into uniform pieces. However, if you'll be more comfortable knowing that the kale pieces are the same size, then go for it!
This version of Portuguese Chouriço, Kale and Potato Soup is adapted from my grandmother's version. She uses kale and cabbage, while I omitted the cabbage altogether and doubled the amount of kale. Instead of using split peas, I used cannellini beans.
And... just so you know... I got my grandmother's approval before making any changes to her recipe!
Portuguese Chouriço, Kale and Potato Soup
3 quarts water
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
1 soup bone
1 pound chouriço (chorizo)
1 pound kale, stemmed and ripped/chopped into bite-size pieces
6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed
Over low heat, cook the water, chicken broth, soup bone, and chouriço for 1 hour. Leave the chourico whole. After 1 hour, remove the chouriço from the pot and set aside. When cool, slice into half-inch slices.
Add the kale and potatoes to the pot. Continue cooking over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes.
When the potatoes are cooked, add the sliced chouriço back to pot, along with the cannellini beans. Cook for 5-10 minutes to heat the meat and beans through.
Remove the soup bone before serving.