I love the pairing of creamy beans with hearty greens. I developed this particular soup a couple of years ago; its lingering memory makes me eager to recreate it year after year, with a few small variations. (Let’s just say I added too much beer one year. A coworker walked into the breakroom while I was reheating some for lunch and asked if I was drinking. She was disappointed to learn it was just soup.)
The inspiration for this soup: On the one hand, we have frijoles borrachos, (drunken beans) a simple and addictive Mexican dish featuring pinto beans simmered with onions, garlic, chiles, beer, and a smoked meat such as bacon. (A savory side dish that’s wonderful in its own right.) On the other hand, Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup consisting of greens (usually kale) and spicy sausage (usually linguica), in broth, along with onions and garlic.
In this soup, I combine the two concepts into one satisfying bowl. I like to sub chard for the kale because the beautiful rainbow chard leaves at the Farmer’s Market are often irresistible. —indieculinary
spicy cured pork sausages, such as linguica or andouille
washed greens, such as rainbow chard or dino kale
cloves of garlic
beer, preferably a Mexican lager
chicken stock or broth
cooked pinto beans
ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
In This Recipe
Dice the sausage and render in the olive oil, over low heat, in a stock pot.
Dice the onions and jalapeno and add to the sizzling sausage and oil with a bit of ground black pepper; saute until onions are clear.
Mince the garlic and add to the pot; stir and cook briefly.
Add the beer and turn up the heat until the liquid is slightly reduced.
Add the chicken stock, beans, and water.
Dice the greens into bite-sized ribbons (be sure to include colorful stems, in the case of the chard), and add.
Simmer soup at least 20 minutes. Taste, and salt as necessary.
Serve! This soup is fantastic with hunks of fresh-baked bread, especially if it's been slathered with peppery olive oil and briefly crisped in the oven.