Emeril Lagasse Shares a Family Recipe That Will Make You Fall in Love with Kale
"I grew up eating this with my mom Hilda at least once a week," says the chef.
Everyone has that one dish that epitomizes their childhood—but Emeril Lagasse‘s is probably healthier than yours.
In the PEOPLE Food series My Food Story, the celebrity chef shares his mother’s recipe for Caldo Verde—which literally translates to green soup in Portuguese —made with sausage and kale. “I grew up eating this with my mom Hilda at least once a week,” says the chef, whose mother was Portuguese. “It makes the heart and soul just really kind of sparkle.”
Though his mom passed away in 2016, Lagasse has kept her legacy alive through her signature dish. “I make kale soup now for my family probably once every two weeks,” he says. “Every time I make it reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of my mom; it reminds me of my dad. I’m trying to pass those memories on to my children as well.”
Watch how he does it in the video above, then follow the recipe below to try it yourself at home.
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Emeril Lagasse’s Caldo Verde
Serves 8 to 10
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. hot cured Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼-in.-thick rounds
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. minced garlic (from about 6 cloves)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled (about 3 cups)
3 ½ quarts (14 cups) chicken broth, store-bought or homemade
2 bunches red- or green-leaf kale, washed well and stemmed (¾ to 1 lb.)
¼ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Red pepper flakes, to taste
¼ cup fresh mint, thinly sliced (optional)
Crusty bread, for serving
1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the chorizo and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, potatoes, and 3 quarts (12 cups) of the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the kale. Put 3 cups in a blender and the remainder in the soup pot. Add the remaining 2 cups stock and the parsley to the blender and blend into a smooth, juice-like puree. Set aside.
3. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and crushed red pepper to the soup, and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes longer, then stir in the kale puree and cook for another 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint, if using.. Serve the soup in large bowls with crusty bread.