Caldo Gallego (or Galician broth) is a traditional Spanish soup filled with flavorful ingredients like ham, chorizo, beans, and vegetables! It’s hearty enough for a full meal or can be enjoyed as a side as well.
How to pronounce Caldo Gallego:
Our family is Cuban (see some of our recipes here) but our ancestors migrated from Spain so our family still loves to enjoy some traditional Spanish recipes like this caldo gallego soup. My dad is actually the one who makes this soup most often but I made sure to have him taste mine and get his stamp of approval!
What is in Caldo Galledo?
- olive oil
- Spanish chorizo
- chicken broth
- cannellini beans
- kale or turnip greens
How to make Caldo Gallego:
The first thing that I like to do is prep all of my meat and vegetables. That way, I can just throw everything in as the recipe calls for it and not have to stop in the middle of making this soup. Then once you’re ready to start, you’ll add the olive oil and onions to a large soup pot and cook until the onions are soft and translucent then add in the garlic. You’ll already start to smell how good this soup is going to be!
Next, you can add the chorizo and ham to the pot. Cook the meat just until you start to see the edges start to brown. The chorizo and ham are already cooked when you buy them so you’re just getting a little color on them and infusing that flavor into the soup.
Once the meat is ready, you’ll add in the broth, potatoes, turnips, and salt then bring everything up to a full boil then reduce it back down to a simmer until the potatoes are soft. You can just poke one with a fork to check. This soup gets cooked uncovered and should reduce just slightly when it’s simmering. This just concentrates the flavor even more!
Once the potatoes are soft, in goes the kale and the beans. I know it sounds odd but you want to also keep the liquid from the beans and add it to the soup. The starchy liquid helps thicken the soup ever so slightly. Caldo Gallego is not a thick soup by any means but it does have a nice heartiness to it.
Now, traditionally, this soup is made with the turnip greens from your turnips that are also in the soup. Turnip greens are seasonal at my grocery store so I typically just use kale and the result is just as delicious. You can use either green that you prefer.
The beans and the kale cook for only a few minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when your greens are wilted to the consistency that you prefer. All thats left to do is serve the soup!
What to serve with Caldo Gallego:
A warm crusty bread would be my first option! Here are my favorite recipes:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 6 large fresh garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 links dried spanish chorizo (peeled and sliced into ⅛" coins)
- 2 smoked ham steaks - 8 ounces each (diced into 1" pieces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large russet potatoes (peeled and diced into 1" cubes)
- 2 turnips (peeled and diced into 1" cubes)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 (15 ounce) cans of cannellini beans (undrained)
- 3 cups chopped kale or turnip greens
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add in the olive oil and onions and sauté until the onions are translucent.
- Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for just about 1 minute.
- Add the chorizo and ham to the same pot and cook until you start to see slightly brown edges on the meat.
- Add in the salt, potatoes, turnips, and chicken stock and bring to a full boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes and turnips are soft.
- Turn the heat to medium and add in the 2 cans of undrained beans and the kale. The starch from the cans of beans will help thicken the soup. Allow to cook for about 5-10 more minutes or until the greens are wilted.
- Take the back of a spatula or sturdy spoon and mash a few of the large chunks of vegetables to add a bit more heartiness to the soup.
- Serve immediately with warm bread or allow to cool and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.