One of the world's most satisfying soups
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chorizo, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
10 ounces dried Calypso beans or other white beans
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 black peppercorns
6 ounces salt pork (cut in 1/4-inch cubes) or a ham bone
2 quarts hot water
2 cups diced potatoes (cut into h-inch dice)
2 cups kale, chopped (collard greens can be substituted)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over moderate heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 2 minutes. Remove chorizo with a slotted spoon and reserve.
2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the beans, herbs and spices, salt pork (or ham bone), and water. Increase heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. check the pot occasionally to stir and skim off any foam that may float on the surface.
3. Add the potatoes and the reserved chorizo. Cook for another hour, partially covered. Add kale and cook for another hour, uncovered, stirring thoroughly every 15 minutes. (By now, the soup should be quite thick) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The damp, cool, foggy weather in Galicia, Spain's verdant northwest corner, has inspired a wonderfully hearty cuisine. Oddly enough -- despite the fact that many Spanish restaurants in the United States are owned by expatriate Gallegos -- the great caldo gallego, one of the world's most satisfying soups, has not become a restaurant staple here. This is starting to change, as more authentic Spanish cooking hits our shores. One taste of this amazing soup, and you'll see why. Serves 6 as a first course or 4 as a main course.