Friday, December 9, 2011

Chickpea, Chard and (Soy) Sausage Soup

When the weather goes from unseasonable warm and windy to freezing overnight like it did last week, it’s time for soup.  Soup is one of the best comfort foods.  It’s good for you and inexpensive to make.  Packed full of beans and greens, and garnished with some Tofurky Beer Brats, this soup is the perfect end to a very cold winter day.  I love to make big pots of soup so I can eat the leftovers for lunch.  
Officially, this soup is called Caldo Verde.  It’s a traditional Portuguese soup made from pureed potatoes and greens.  I was inspired by a recipe I saw on an old posting on The Well Seasoned Cook’s website.  Susan added chickpeas which I thought was an inspired idea.  Many recipes also call for sausage or chorizo which I substituted with the soy sausage.  Adding some extra protein makes it wonderful one pot meal and the well seasoned broth compliments the sausage.
It’s important to use smokey Spanish paprika instead the regular kind.  It’s worth the extra money.

This soup is usually made with russet potatoes, but I’m allergic to them so I substituted with Japanese sweet potatoes.  Japanese sweet potatoes are not as sweet as regular sweet potatoes or yams.  You can tell them apart by their very dark, almost purple, color skin and white flesh.  They’re a little sweeter than russet potatoes but they worked out fine.  If I could eat russets, I would use them.  

Most caldo verde recipes call for kale, but Mr. RK is not fond of the stuff, unfortunately, so I substituted the kale with some chard.  I’m sure you could make this with spinach and it would still be excellent.  The idea is to eat lots of greens.  I love the colors of rainbow chard, it’s so vibrant!

I always cook my own beans.  I have a pressure cooker so it only takes 15 minutes to cook up a large pot and I freeze what I don’t use now for later.  If you feel the need to buy canned beans, please use Eden brand.  They are the only ones that are packed in BPA free cans. If you can’t find Tofurky sausages, I  suggest you try and find one made without soy isolates, also an ingredient to avoid if possible.
This is a very hearty, rich tasting soup.  Served with sauteed soy sausages on top, it warms the spirit and fills your stomach on a cold night.
Chickpea, Chard and Sausage Soup
Serves 6 - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon smoky Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
10 cups water
2 large potatoes, peeled and  (or Japanese sweet potatoes)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 bunch chard, kale or spinach
Soy Sausage for topping
In a large pot (preferably cast iron) warm the oil over a low heat.
Chop the garlic and add to the pot along with the paprika, cumin, and oregano.
Saute the spices and garlic over the lowest flame until fragrant and the garlic is golden brown.
While the spices cook, peel and chop the potatoes.
Add the water, chopped potatoes, salt, and pepper to the pot.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low.
Simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 15 to 20 minutes)
Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, puree the broth in batches until smooth.
(if you want a chunkier soup, you can use a potato masher and just mash the broth)
Return the broth to the pot over a low heat.
Saute some soy sausages until browned and slice diagonally.
Add the greens and the chickpeas and mix.
Simmer the soup until the greens are slightly wilted, about 3 minutes.
Serve topped with slices of sausage.

No comments:

Post a Comment