Maple-Smoked Venison Caldo Verde
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Recipe Contributed by Field Staff Writer S. West
In my last recipe, I was glorying in what the unseasonably hot weather was doing for a bumper crop of cucumbers, but since I live in Canada, the weather is apt to change in a frequent and sometimes violent fashion. So it was this past weekend when low temperatures, cold drizzle, and gloomy skies heralded the arrival of fall.
After toiling in the yard in such inclement weather, I immediately went straight into comfort food mode. And since there is nothing more comfortable than a bowl of hearty potato soup, I resolved to make a batch of my familyâ€™s favorite: caldo verde. Because if that potato soup happens to have some venison sausages and a classic late-season green like kale in the mix, all the better.
A traditional caldo verde calls for chorizo, but since I had two coils of spicy venison sausages sitting in my freezer the substitution was simple. I could have easily roasted these in my oven, but the opportunity to smoke them with maple wood chips and amp up the flavor was simply more temptation than I could bear. I freestyled in some chilies to give the recipe some extra-heat, but these could just as easily have been left on the sidelines.
For me, this soup is best enjoyed with some crusty, buttered bread, and a dram or two of bourbon served neat, but in a pinch, a pint of cream ale makes a fair beverage substitute.
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2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
6 white potatoes, cubed
1 large Spanish onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 birdâ€™s eye chilies, left whole
2lbs spicy venison sausage
1lb of kale, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
the wood chips to the smoker.
2.Â Smoke the sausages in a smoker or, as
I did using a BBQ set to 200 degrees,
for 3 hours.
- In a large stock pot, heat the oil and butter over medium high heat
- Add the onion and garlic and sautÃ© until soft.
- Add the potatoes and stir until coated with oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper, then sautÃ© for 5 minutes before adding enough water to cover the potatoes, onions, and garlic. Add the chilies and bring to a boil.
- Once the soup boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Remove the chilies and using an immersion blender, puree the stock until smooth.
- Stir in the kale, and if necessary add more salt or pepper to taste.
- Slice the sausages into coins and add to the soup. Stir and let simmer on low heat.
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