Caldo Gallego – Galician Soup

Caldo Gallego is a hearty, nutritious, and inexpensive soup which originated in the western region of Spain which borders Portugal.

In most Spanish speaking countries and in Latin America this soup is a classic but it is just as popular in Portugal.

I hadn’t made this soup in a long time but after eating last week I decided to make it.

Here’s a photo of the lunch I had at Jose Garca’s Amada Restaurant at the Revel in AC,  last week.

Pictured: “Caldo Galego”, Grilled Baby Squid, Batatas Bravas, Grilled Chicken Sandwich

My family lived in Tras os Montes, along the northern border and we could see Spain beyond the horizon.

Spanish Peddlers often traveled through our local towns selling their goods and often stayed at our house which my mother ran as a small bed and breakfast type inn. She made this soup for these guests and for our family.

I was a young girl at that time who hadn’t learned my Geography, that’s why I never knew the true meaning of the world Gallego. I simply thought that it meant vagabond since my mother referred to the peddlers as “Gallegos”.

Through the years my mother learned how to speak Galician Spanish which fascinated me many years later when she watched the Spanish Soap Operas on Uni-vision and understood them perfectly! This map locates languages spoken in Galicia and Portugal.

Photo credit:


Caldo Gallego


1/2 pound of diced presunto, salt pork or baco

2 large potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1 bay leaf

2 large cans of Great northern or cannelloni Beans (You may also use red beans)

8 cups of water or low sodium chicken broth

1 Ham bone (optional)

1 large onion diced

1 large turnip diced (optional)

1 large sliced chourica or linguica sausage

1 lb chopped collard greens (You may substitute with kale, mustard greens or kale)

2 tbsp olive oil

*Salt only if needed since the presunto has a lot of salt


Saute the pork and chourica in the olive oil until slightly crispy then add the onions, garlic and bay leaf. Cook the onions until translucent about 1 or 2 minutes.
Remove the chourica to add later. Add the water or broth, potatoes, turnips, ham bone and the collard greens. (Note * if you use spinach only add it during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.)
Let the soup cook on low for about 1 hour. Add the beans and the Chourica, stir and cook for another 30 minutes on low heat to incorporate all the flavors.
Note*If you prefer a creamy style rather than chunky, cook the potatoes and turnips first before adding the collards.
Add the beans to the potatoes and turnips and puree with an immersion blender.
Add the collards and chourica last and let cook for 30 minutes longer.
Remove the bay leaf and add more olive oil as a garnish before serving.
This soup is even better served the next day! Enjoy!

 Caldo Galego: Photo credit:




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