After nearly 20 years as a vegetarian (!!) there are only a few meaty things that I miss. Most of them are nostalgic, heritage-type foods that my grandmothers made. All are pork-based. My French-Canadian Nana made a pork spread called gorton (approximately: “guh-taugh”) that was heavy on the clove and pretty much revelatory on a piece of buttered toast or as a sandwich w/ mustard. If you don’t believe me, NPR has the proof.
My Portuguese (by descent, anyway, but we never made that distinction) Vo-voa made made chouriço (Portuguese sausage) dishes that were a mainstay for holidays and Sunday dinners. Chouriço (SE Mass pronunciation: “shuh-reese” or “shuh-deese”) is ubiquitous in the greater Fall River / New Bedford metro area. I’ll bet there isn’t a single local who doesn’t know what it is. Outside the area, all bets are off.
Over the weekend I started obsessing over how to make a veg version of soupish caldene / Portuguese kale soup. No surprise, soy chouriço doesn’t exist. My cousin Sue pointed out that Spanish-style chorizo does exist…so off to the store I went. The only had the ground variety, but I made do. It garnered extra faux porkiness from our pig bowl:
It won’t fool any of the folks in Fall River, but this is a reasonable equivalent for vegetarians and the caldene uninitiated.
Vegetarian (vegan, actually) Soupish Caldene
Yield: One huge pot of soup
3 large yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 package soy chorizo (the store only had ground, but the “sausage” style could be cut into pieces)
2-3 medium yellow potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large bunch kale, tough ribs removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed well
1 large bay leaf
1-2 pinches of red pepper flakes
1/2 T smoked paprika or Portuguese paprika
8 cups of stock (I used 4 vegetarian bouillon cubes, Maggi brand)
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in bottom of large soup pot. Add chopped onions and sauté on medium heat until softened. Add soy chorizo and garlic and sauté for a few more minutes. Add red pepper and smoked paprika and stir. Cook for another minute. Add 8 cups of stock to the chorizo mixture. Note: I added water, brought to a simmer, then added the bouillon cubes. Add kale pieces and strong simmer / low boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and beans. Strong simmer/low boil for 15-20 minutes more, until potatoes are cooked through, but not falling apart. Taste to adjust salt. Add black pepper and a few glugs of olive oil. Since it was originally a pork recipe, it really needs the extra oil.
Another note: resist your urge to only wilt the kale. It’s not a wilt; it’s a full-on cook.
Ladle it out and have w/ buttered toast or a stick of Portuguese bread if you can get it. :)