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onionsouping caldo verdesoup all 008Across from a row of rough board stands selling vegetables, fruits and local crafts is Number 59 Avenue de la justice in the city of Kinshasa, a plain, white storefront with a small sign at the side of the front door:  ALIMENTATION LA BAVIERE.

Baviere is a little Portuguese-run grocery store.  The proprietress has her chair just inside the door…and another beside her if you aren’t in a hurry and want to sit down for a chat.  Behind her are the shelves of wine, mainly Portuguese and French ones.  Beyond the single cash register are baskets of fresh bread.  (The baguettes arrive hot from the Portuguese baker’s ovens every morning.) Sometimes there are local fresh quail for sale or poussins (very small, very tender young chickens).  Sometimes fresh mussels that have arrived on the previous night’s flight from Europe. On occasion you will find handmade Belgian chocolates behind the counter and there are cheeses and sausages, hams and pâtés of all descriptions.

You cannot always count on finding any one particular thing on Baviere’s shelves.  Shoppers’ expectations have to be flexible.  Much of what is sold is flown in weekly from Europe.  But flights may get delayed or cancelled.  Customers who place special orders look upon them as wish lists.  (The Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas goose may arrive…but it is good to have a back-up plan…just in case.)

But during the years of my weekly shopping trips there, the makings for the traditional Portuguese soup, Caldo verde, were never lacking.  Pick up some chorizo, imported or locally made, from the deli section….look in the tiny, over-stuffed freezer hard by and fish out a packet of chopped turnip greens…and you were well on your way to enjoying this Portuguese favorite at home.

Postscript:  Caldo verde may be made with a variety of greens, singly or mixed…turnip, kale, collard…even fresh chopped radish leaves.  And, if your menu is a little short of plant life, a bowl of caldo verde (green broth) to begin the meal will help set that aright.

onionsouping caldo verdesoup all 007Caldo verde ~ a traditional Portuguese soup (for 8 people as a first course or 6 as the main course of a Light Lunch)

Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.

caldoverde ing 005Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of Chorizo, cut in rounds and quartered
  • 1 large-ish Yellow Onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large-ish Potato, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups of Chicken Bouillon or Vegetable Bouillon:  a recipe for Homemade Vegetable Bouillon is here in a previous diplomatickitchen post.
  • 1 pound of Hakurei Turnip Greens, Kale, or Collard Greens (or a combination of these) cut in thin strips
  • some Coarse Salt and Coarse Black Pepper, to taste


  • a large, heavy-bottomed Pot or Casserole with a Lid
  • a Slotted Spoon
  • a Food Processor or Blender
  • a large Bowl

baby radishes and greens 0041.  Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat.  Add the quartered rounds of chorizo and sauté them until they begin to turn golden.  With a slotted spoon, remove them to a plate and set them aside.

2.  Add the diced onion to the oil and slowly cook it, stirring occasionally, until the edges begin to turn golden.  Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring, until the garlic begins to color around the edges.

3.  Add the potato and bouillon and bring the soup to a simmer.  Cook the soup, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender.

4.  Purée the soup in batches in a food processor or blender, transferring each puréed portion to a large bowl.

5.  When all the soup has been processed, return it to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.  Add the chopped greens and the reserved chorizo and cook the soup gently, uncovered, for about 5 – 10 minutes or until the greens are just cooked.  Taste and season with the coarse salt and black pepper.

A Note:  Caldo verde is the First Course of the Dinner Menu:  Alpine Dinner.  With a good bread and a couple of cheeses, it is a very nice Light Lunch.

onionsouping caldo verdesoup all 022

An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013