After visiting Fazendinha da Regina I was determined to make Portuguese green soup and pão de queijo (cheese rolls). I set a date with my boyfriend Jesse for a Sunday afternoon Brazilian feast. I’ve been known to cook themed dinners, which I think awards me the title of “Best Girlfriend Ever.”
Pão de quiejo, I am told is served at basically every Brazilian meal: cafe de manha, almoco, jantar e lanche (transl: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack). Much of Brazilian food is influenced by Africans, including this type of bread. The recipe uses tapioca flour, since wheat flour wasn’t readily available to the Afro-Brazilian community in the 1920s. To a sure advantage, as the tapioca flour gives this bread a unique texture and makes it gluten free.
The recipe for pão de queijo that I made was from Olivia’s Cuisine, a Brazilian cooking blog. I have hyperlinked her recipe here. However, Olivia leaves out a crucial step, so keep reading before you bake!
My boyfriend, Jesse was highly anticipating this cheese bread, as this was one of our favorite things at Regina’s. I made the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer with ease, the dough tasted amazing but it was quite runny. Olivia’s recipe said to add more tapioca flour if it seemed too liquidy, but I had used the entire small bag I had ordered from Whole Foods. When I decided to just bake it as is, I ran into my next roadblock: I didn’t have parchment paper. My cookie sheets look like they had been sitting under an old car, so I decided to use foil with olive oil lightly sprayed on it. The dough gooped out of my hand into a pitiful pancake on the foil surrounded by a pool of oil.
As it baked, the familiar cheesy scent we experienced at Regina’s circulated through my apartment. It reached Jesse’s nostrils and he exclaimed “Oh! That smells awesome!” I was saddened to get his hopes up, as I peaked in the oven to find my rolls resembling church communion wafers. When they were ready, he took a bite and exclaimed “It tastes like a giant Cheese-It! ” So although the shape was off, the flavor and texture was on point. So please adhere to this crucial step that Olivia didn’t mention in her blog: After your dough is prepared, put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will allow you to mold the dough into golf size balls and get an actual roll shape, as opposed to my cheese pancakes.
For the caldo verde, which is a Portuguese soup served in Brazil, I had a few recipes for inspiration along with some loose directions Regina told me. I created my own unique recipe for the soup based on taste. Although the green soup was vegetarian at Regina’s, I wanted to include linguiça, Brazilian pork sausage. I called to get linguiça from an international food store but they did not have any. I was lucky enough to find some at Whole Foods.
Most of the texture of this soup is from mashing the potatoes after they have been cooked. I no longer own a potato masher since I got a KitchenAid Mixer. I had Jesse mash them using a spaghetti spoon and a whisk. He felt great accomplishment in his skills, and said his contribution was “probably the most crucial step.”
I taste tested my soup, it was good but missing something. I poked through my spice cabinet and found some Chipotle Sea Salt that was an impulse purchase from TJ Maxx. I hadn’t added any extra salt to my soup, so put in about 1 tsp. It was the magic ticket to make the soup perfect. It was a great meal to get over my cold with just enough spicy kick, not to mention a healthy dose of greens. The pão de queijo was delectable dipped into the soup, like an exotic grilled cheese.
I encourage you to try topping off this soup with cheese, Calabrese peppers and pork rinds.
A Portuguese soup with the superfood power of kale and collards, and a little kick.
This is an original recipe from the kitchen of Mandy Mizell, inspired by Fazendinha da Regina.
- 1 lb (2 links) linguiça pork sausage
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion, diced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and diced small
- 4 cups water
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound collard greens/kale mixture
- White Pepper, to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
- Chipotle sea salt, to taste (about 1 tsp)
- Cook linguiça in large stock pot until it is browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings for broth.
- Add olive oil to stock pot over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until translucent and slightly browned.
- Add potatoes to pot, cover with 4 cups water and 4 cups chicken broth. Bring to boil and cook for 15 minutes.
- As potatoes cook, remove stems from collard greens and kale. Roll several leaves into a cigar shape then slice very thinly.
- In a food processor/blender, use remaining 1 cup of chicken broth to process collard greens/kale mix, adding a small amount of greens at a time. Process about 80% of the greens mixture, reserving some sliced greens to be added later.
- Mash potatoes once they have been cooked thoroughly. It is fine to leave some large chunks of potato.
- Add the pureed greens/broth mixture and bring soup to a simmer for 20 minutes. Skim green pulp off of the top of soup intermittently and discard.
- Crumble cooked linguiça and add to the soup, along with remaining 20% of sliced greens mixture, white pepper and chipotle sea salt. Let simmer for 15-20 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!