A trip to Portugal a few years back re-introduced me to a cured meat that I hardly thought much of before: chorizo. While in Lisbon, I sampled so many different kinds, paired with delicious sheep’s milk cheeses (both soft and hard). Naturally, the day before I was to return home, I stocked up on both cheeses and chorizo (in addition to locally-produced membrillo and fried fava beans), had them vacuum-sealed at the little shop and hoped that I’d make it through customs. Alas, the X-ray machine detected a peculiar-looking sausage and the custom folk informed me that sausage was not allowed (my cheeses made it through, though).
Since my return, I’ve been on a mission to find high-quality chorizo, so when I recently saw some imported chorizo at an organic grocery store, I bought some without a recipe in mind (just the taste of Portugal). Initially, I had intended to make traditional Portuguese soup called caldo verde–made with greens, potatoes and cabbage. This ubiquitous soup was one of my favorite dishes in Portugal–the typical ‘poor man’s’ sort of rustic dish that brought back memories of my life in Siena and Papa al Pomodoro.
But then I came across this recipe on a blog called 80 Breakfasts and I knew that the direction of my soup was going to be somewhat different. The soup that I decided to make was going to focus on a different kind of green: cabbage. Typically, I prefer my cabbage either fresh or pickled, but cooked in a broth of tomato, onion, and chorizo, it sounded almost…scrumptious. Flavoring the onion with the chorizo at the beginning really sets the stage for the entire soup and permeates the broth with a spicy, warm and aromatic taste that floats from your head to your toes. The chickpeas add an unexpected texture and soften up the spicy broth with their creamy, soft flavor.
I absolutely would recommend going out of your way to get some hearty, crusty bread to go along with this soup. You’ll want to wipe down every last drop of the orange chorizo oil that will accumulate on the edges of your bowl.
This soup is no Portugal, but it certainly brought me back.
Tomato and Chorizo Soup with Cabbage and Chickpeas
adapted from 80 Breakfasts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 white onion, sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of chorizo slices, casing removed (I used chorizo that was about 1.5 inches in diameter, which I sliced into 1/2 inch circles)
1/4 cup of white wine
4-5 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
Few pinches of fresh or dried oregano
1 can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
1/2 of a green cabbage, chopped into large chunks
Salt and fresh pepper, to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a big soup bot and add the onion and garlic, sauteing until soft.
2. Add in the chorizo and mix with the onion using a wooden spoon. The chorizo grease should turn the onion orange and a fragrant aroma will overtake your kitchen.
3. Cook for a few minutes over medium-high. When it’s hissing and everything is well incorporated and fried for a few minutes, pour in the wine, deglazing the pot and scraping up any onion stuck to the bottom.
4. Throw in the diced tomatoes, smoked paprika, oregano and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow the tomatoes to cook down. Stir a few times.
5. Pour in the drained chickpeas, water and broth and stir everything together. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add some salt and stir, tasting to see if it needs more.
6. Add the cabbage, stir, cover and cook for about 20 minutes–until the cabbage is tender. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, as needed.
*Cook’s Note: I used fresh tomatoes, but you could easily substitute a can of diced tomatoes–just make sure they’re high quality. When I have fresh tomatoes on hand, I prefer to cook with them, but canned work just as well. If you eat all of the chorizo with the first few bowls, feel free to fry up more on the side and simply add to the soup.
Musical Pairings: Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Elvis Perkins in Dearland + Tomato Chorizo Soup with Cabbage and Chickpeas
A warm, filling soup is always a very welcome meal after a long day at work. Even better then when you can enjoy that soup with friends and good music. Kasey prepared this tomato, chorizo soup with cabbage and chickpeas last week for a meal with some good friends who were visiting from L.A. It is a slightly spicy soup, and could serve well to hearten a weary soul. Likewise, it is a lively dish, and it is a good meal to share with friends encouraging good conversation. Because of this, Elvis Perkins in Dearland‘s self-titled album is a perfect pairing for this recipe.
The opening track on the album, “Shampoo,” is as good as any other song you’ll hear this year, and is easily the best track Perkins has recorded to date. Nonetheless, even if “Shampoo” wasn’t on here, Elvis Perkins in Dearland would still be a great album worth adding to your library. Of course, some songs are better than others, but even after numerous listens over a period of weeks, I still can’t really identify a single weak link on the album. “Shampoo” is followed by “Hey,” a bobbing, catchy melody, and one of the more lyrically upbeat tracks on the album: “Come with me I’ll take you anywhere.” “Hours Last Stand” could have been a lost track by the Beatles, and is every bit as good as this reference would suggest. “I Heard Your Voice in Dresden,” “Send My Regards to Lonelyville,” and “Doomsday” are also highlights. Head over to Musical Pairings for the full review. –Matthew