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 Greens and sausage soup A little imagination and a reasonable substitution create a fine winter soup with a Portuguese accent.
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Greens and sausage soup

Thought you were going to get a corned-beef and cabbage recipe for St. Patrick's Day? Oops! I guess I could have thought of that, but as a matter of fact, a mid-March cool snap recently put me in the mood for a thick and warming soup, and that immediately turned my thoughts in the direction of Portugal.

As I've mentioned several times since my visit in December, the Portuguese are crazy for soups. This hearty sausage-and-greens mix bulked out with both garbanzo beans and potatoes, is a classic. Although it's traditionally made with kale (I've occasionally seen it with spinach), I substituted a bunch of broccoli rabe with excellent results.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two with ample leftovers)

Smallish baking potato
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
Dried red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
3 or 4 canned peeled tomatoes
15-ounce can garbanzos
Bunch fresh broccoli rabe
1 cooked smoked sausage


1. Peel the potato and cut it into small dice. Peel and chop the onion; peel and mince the garlic.

2. Put the olive oil into a large saucepan or soup pot and cook the onions and garlic with a shake of dried red-pepper flakes until the vegetables are translucent and aromatic. Add the diced potatoes, salt and pepper, cook for a moment or two, and add the chicken broth.

3. Roughly chop the tomatoes, and rinse and drain the garbanzos. Put them in the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. While the soup is simmering, cook the broccoli rabe (or other greens) in salted water just until it's tender. Drain and chop coarsely. Cut the sausage into thin pieces.

5. Just before the soup is done, buzz it briefly with a stick blender. You don't want to turn it into a puree, just blend enough of the solids to make a natural thickener. Put in the cooked greens and the sausage slices and cook until warmed through.

This is a hearty soup that provides all you'll need for dinner in a pot, although it's certainly appropriate to put a loaf of crusty bread alongside.

WINE MATCH: It ought to be served with a fruity Portuguese red, perhaps an Alentejo, although the other night when Mary was out and I made this as a bachelor dinner, I washed it down with a crisp wheat beer. That was fine, too.

By the way, either a dinner soup like this one or a traditional corned-beef-and-cabbage would make an appropriate entry in the Ingredient of the Month feature in the Food & Drink section of our online WineLovers Community, where instead of an ingredient, the topic for March is a method, one pot meals.

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about this recipe or food and cookery in general, you're welcome to drop by the Food & Drink section of our online WineLovers Community, where I've posted this article as a new topic, "Portuguese greens and sausage soup,"

Click the REPLY button on the forum page to post a comment or response. (If your E-mail software broke this long link in half, take care to paste it all back into one line before you enter it in your Web browser.)

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at

Want a copy that's easy to use in the kitchen? You'll find a simple, plain-text version of this recipe, suitable for printing, online at

Last Week's FoodLetter and Archives

Last week's Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Burger buns (March 9, 2006)

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Thursday, March 9, 2006
Copyright 2005 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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