February 24, 2013

Louisiana Caldo for #SundaySupper

Louisiana Caldo for #SundaySupper

Louisiana Caldo: Mustard Greens & Pickled Pork

What is Louisiana Caldo?

Louisiana Caldo is a thick, nourishing soup that is traditional to the Isleños… settlers of St. Bernard Parish (outside of New Orleans proper) who came from the Canary Islands over 200 years ago.

It’s not a gumbo, yet it is thick, hearty and nutritious.

Are There Other Kinds of Caldo?


I regularly ate caldo de res (we’ll read about that in a minute) when I was in the seminary in Mexico.

But, here, locally in New Orleans, there are other types of caldo too. Caldo Verde, in particular. But that is of Portuguese descent, and it is somewhat different.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are so called because they are a spicy green. They are peppery. Some folks like to eat the young leaves raw. When the leaves are older, it is best to cook them. Other variations of greens include Turnip greens and Collard greens.

As a child, I remember my paternal grandfather cooking greens on a regular basis. I think he just sautéed them on the stove with onions and garlic. He probably sautéed them in butter or bacon grease. He was a good Cajun foodie, after all. But I hated the smell, and I refused to taste them.

Boy, was I dumb!

“There are no quotes about mustard greens from famous people. I know. I googled it.” – Jeff Young, The Catholic Foodie

No famous quotes. It’s disappointing. Nothing from Mark Bittman. Nothing from The Joy of Cooking. Nothing. I should have gotten a good quote from my grandfather. But I was like 7, so what did I know?

Since there are no famous quotes about mustard greens, it seems to me that we folks here in Louisiana have the market on the goodness that is mustard greens. Maybe I should start a new website: CatholicMustardGreens.com. 😉

Just kidding.

But, seriously, no famous people saying anything about the goodness of mustard greens? Come on! Mustard greens are GOOD!!!!

Pickled Pork

Now we turn our attention to that lesser known “cut” of pork known as pickled pork.

OK. I’m kidding here too.


“Like so many delicious Southern culinary traditions, the use of both ham hocks and pickled pork came to be as a result of hard times.

“While the wealthy viewed knobby, gelatinous ham hocks as undesirable, laborers in the fields and cities gladly used the marrow-rich bones and meat to flavor and enhance the beans, vegetables and broths they fed their families. Hocks were often smoked; other bits and scraps were often pickled in a brine of water, salt, sugar, vinegar, and herbs or spices. Both preparations served to enhance flavor while preserving shelf life.

“Southerners have come to a universal appreciation for the richness of flavor and mineral-rich nutrition that these “seasoning meats” and bones impart at a thrifty cost. The practice of including some form of smoked or pickled pork as a flavoring agent continues today with many iconic Southern dishes—red, white and lima beans; field and blackeye peas; collard, mustard and turnip greens; and all manner of stewed vegetables.” – CamilliaBrand.com

Pickled pork?

Yes! Ain’t no flavor like it anywhere.

Caldo de Res: My First Exposure

The first time I had caldo of any sort I was a seminarian living in Mexico with the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, co-founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It was caldo de res, beef stew. And it was delicious!

I had many delicious soups during my two years in formation with the Missionaries of Charity… including Pig Snout Soup and Fish Head Soup. But that’s a story for another time. 😉

I would like to thank Chef John Besh and My New Orleans for the inspiration behind this particular recipe. C’est ce bon!

Chef John Besh_s Recipe for Caldo

Louisiana Caldo for #SundaySupper

Author: Jeff Young
Cuisine: Southern, Creole
Recipe type: Soup


  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 large sweet yellow onions, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs pickled pork (or more if you use bone-in)
  • 2 cups of lima beans
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh whole tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup corn (I prefer frozen kernels over canned)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, chopped
  • 1½ gallon beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in large heavy-bottomed stainless steel soup or stock pot. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté until soft, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic at the 10 minute mark.
  2. Add the pork, the sweet potatoes, the lima beans, the mustard greens, the corn, the green beans, and the tomatoes. Stir well.
  3. Add the beef stock, the cayenne, the allspice, and the bay leaves. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, until all the vegetables and the pork are tender.
  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary, adding more salt, pepper, or cayenne. If you used pickled pork that contained bones, then you will want to fish out all the pieces and debone them, returning the meat to the pot.


Serve in bowls.

Crusty French bread is delightful when served hot with this caldo.

You can download CF159 here, or press Play below to listen now:

Soup’s On this Sunday for #SundaySupper!

We have all heard it said, “Soup is good food.” And it’s true. This particular soup, Caldo, has become a family favorite in our house.

Soup is on the menu for #SundaySupper this week, and I am so excited!

I LOVE soup! Gumbos, stews, soups… you name it! There is just something wholesome about soup. It’s good for the soul.

Check out all the soups we have on display for you this week for #SundaySupper:

Do The Chicken Dance (chicken {or other poultry} soups)

Where’s The Beef (Beef Soups)

Pass The Pork. Please (Pork or Sausage Soups)

Under The Sea (Seafood Soups)

Eat Your Veggies (Chock Full o’ Vegetables Soups)

Some Don’t Like It Hot (Chilled Soups)

Join Us for #SundaySupper!

Pam at The Meltaways is our hostess this week, and this is what she had to say about our “Souper” #SundaySupper:

Of course once you have seen all of the recipes for the day, you’ll not want to miss our  #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday

We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. This week we will be sharing out special soup recipes!

Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun.

Follow the#SundaySupper hash tag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

Don’t forget to check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Join us Around the Family Table this Sunday at 7pm Eastern Time and share your favorite soup, stew, chowder or bisque recipes with us!

What Say You?

Do you like soup? What’s your favorite? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below!