Your liver’s favorite soup.

It’s that time of year again.

In another month, Joe will be taking his third (and hopefully final) CFA exam. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how the CFA works, candidates must take the three part exam over three successive years. So, in year one, you take the Level I exam; if you pass that, then the next year you take Level II, and so on. If (and when!) Joe passes Level III this June, he’ll finally be a Charter holder.

I couldn’t be happier.

Both because of what it will mean for him, but also because the last three springs have required him to study for several hours a day on the weekend. We haven’t been able to go anywhere or do anything for Memorial Day since 2006 (sacrilege, as Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays–it’s the start of summer!). In years past, CFA study season has also meant an increase in Joe’s weekend beer and wine consumption. And this year has been no exception. Who could blame him? Would YOU want to work 55 hours a week, and then study for another 12 over the weekend? I didn’t think so. And with such dedication comes the dire need for a brewsky. Nothing a little Leffe can’t fix!

Of course, with our recent shift to a “good, clean living” diet in conjunction with all his CrossFit workouts, Joe’s conscience inevitably speaks up somewhere around beer 3, and to reconcile it, he’ll request that we have something  healthful for dinner.

So last Sunday, in an effort to cleanse both the conscience and the liver, I made my version of Caldo Verde, the famed Portugeuse kale soup. Like all bitter greens, kale is thought to have liver cleansing properties, and it’s also chock full of vitamins A, C and K. Normally, Caldo Verde is made with chorizo, but I decided to forgo the meat, delicious and greasy as it is. Just before serving, I also gave the soup a quick whirl with my immersion blender, rendering it a color of green that asked “How can I NOT be healthful?”; it also transformed the texture into something smoother, more velvety.

It was super easy to make, and it certainly gave us both a sprightly kick in our step on Monday morning. Here’s the recipe:

Quick & Easy Caldo Verde

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 small yukon gold potatoes, washed, then diced
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 bunch spinach, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch curly leafed kale, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested, then cut in half
  • –kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (may need as much as 1 1/2 tbsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper)
  • –shredded roasted chicken (optional)

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in the potatoes, and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the chicken stock, cover the pot, and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Lower the heat to low. Add in the greens in batches, until they wilt and completely fit in the pot. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until the greens are finely chopped, and the potatoes completely pureed. The soup should be a vibrant green. Add in the lemon zest, then the juice of one of the lemon halves (more to taste). Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with chicken if using, then serve.

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