The House Special: Caldo Verde with Gisele Fetterman

We go inside the kitchen of the ‘First Lady of Braddock’ to learn how to make a classic Portuguese soup.



The moment I saw a photo of Gisele Fetterman breastfeeding her baby in The New York Times, I knew I had to meet the first lady of Braddock, Pa. A woman who proudly nurses her toddler in public — and in front of millions of Times readers — is an automatic hero in my book.

Then I ran into her virtually in an online forum for mothers with “radical” ideas, such as extended breastfeeding (which, in many cultures, is not radical at all). Turns out we are both lactivists. But my girl crush didn’t end there. Our favorite vegetable is kale — Gisele even named the family dog after it, true story! And we are both proponents of nutrition and healing with whole foods. In fact, she provides free nutrition and health counseling services in Braddock. It is only one of the many initiatives she has implemented since her husband, John, took over as mayor.

Most recently, she launched Braddock’s Free Store. Gisele works with the nonprofit K.I.D.S. (Kids in Distressed Situations) and retailers such as Costco that provide the Free Store with donated goods for those in need — clothing, towels diapers, formula, you name it.

She is one of the most driven women in Pittsburgh, so I was ecstatic when we found time to get together to make one of her favorite meals: Caldo Verde, the soup her grandmother made for her as she was growing up. It is indeed a comforting soup. The potatoes and kale are a classic combination that’s perfect for autumn.

Watch the video, and make this one of your go-to meals as the chill of the fall season approaches.


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  Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)

Yield: Serves 4



  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • ½ cup parsley, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)



1.  In a pot, sauté onion and garlic until soft.

2.  Add potatoes, kale and broth and bring to a boil.

3.  Add parsley, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are done.

4.  Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes and more minced parsley and drizzle with a bit of olive oil before serving.

5. Enjoy!


For more on the Fetterman's mission in Braddock, read our April 2013 feature

Categories: Brazen Kitchen