Monday, March 21, 2011

Portuguese Couves (Kale Soup)

Tradition! I hear music sounds....laughter, lots of talking, shouting, and card playing. My grandmothers house always seemed to have sounds and smells of food. She even had an out-door kitchen to cook in the summer time so she wouldn't heat up the main house.

 Sweet bread was baking, soup cooking and the tinkling of spoons on the soup bowls as we ate. We always seemed to have soup of the Couves she called it, in deep soup bowls with one inch edges on the soup plates on top of a big table cloth. Always a table cloth. I am saving my old table cloths (very thin now) and I am going to make aprons out of what's left of them.

 If you are ailing in any way...this soup will fix it. Especially good for colds and flu or just because. I can't tell you how many times I have had this soup growing up.


  • 2 beef short ribs or 1 beef shank
  • two bunches Kale leaves, broken into small pieces
  • a few cabbage or Chinese cabbage leaves (optional about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup or so of frozen baby Lima beans
  • one linguicia sausage
  • 4 or 5 medium white potatoes
  • 2 or 3 sweet potatoes 
  • (the sweet potatoes are MY addition, not traditional)


  1. Brown the meat in a little hot olive oil, then add about 4-5 quarts of water and boil the meat until tender (a couple of hours, at least). Salt to taste.

  2. When meat is tender, add prepared kale leaves to the beef water; also add about a cup of chopped cabbage (optional).

  3. Add more water if necessary; boil for at least 2 hours.

  4. While the kale is cooking, cook a linguicia and slice. Also, peel and cut up potatoes; boil to partially cook them. Keep the potato water.

  5. When the kale leaves are cooked add the partially-cooked potatoes, the sliced linguicia sausage, and a cup or so of frozen Lima beans.

  6. If the soup needs more water, add some of the potato water.

  7. Add more salt if needed. At some point, take out the beef bones; break the meat into smaller bite sized chunks if necessary. (should be falling off the bone)

  8. When the Lima beans are cooked, the soup is done.

Source: Renee Goularte

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