May 17, 2010

Apropos of the Weather

Please excuse this most unseasonal post.

I know this is an awfully wintry, hearty sounding soup to be presented to you here in the middle of May, but our weather is being a little uncooperative and finicky.  In defense of this soup, however, the kale was newly harvested from D's mom's garden.  Sweet, meaty lacinato kale, that nutrient packed darling of the cabbage family; I could eat it every day.  Did you see I threw some in my miso soup as well?  When I brought the bag of kale home (a grocery bag at least half way full) I had grand plans.  First I'd make this soup, as it was recommended by the grower herself, and with the leftovers I'd make a batch of kale chips.  Pipe dreams.  I though surely, staring at this pile of greens, there was well over a pound to distribute between the two recipes, but I would be wrong.  Pulling out my digital kitchen scale I leaned my haul was merely 3/4 of a pound.  Next time kale chips, next time.

Determined not to be defeated, or let the kale go to waste, I moved on and decided to prepare the soup.  Making modifications as needed - not using a full pound of kale - and switching things up because I just plain felt like it - using just 2 precooked chicken andouille sausages from Trader Joe's instead of a full pound of turkey sausage (what the heck kind of turkey sausage, it doesn't say?!?) turned out a pretty tasty soup.  It had a nice amount of spice from both the sausage and the added red pepper flakes and was thick with greens and potatoes.  And you know, I can most always get behind a bowl of soup, even when it's warmer out.  Especially if said soup has a bit of peppery heat to it.

**Oh, hey there!  If you look closely, I accidentally sneaked into the picture!

Potato Kale Soup with Chicken Andouille Sausage
Adapted from Food and Wine, January 1997

4 - 6 servings

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 chicken andouille sausages
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart water
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Pinch dried red-pepper flakes
3/4 pound kale, stems removed, leaves shredded

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot and, when it is cool enough to handle, cut it into slices and cut each slice into quarters. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.

Add the water, broth, and salt and bring the soup to a boil. Add the sausage, potatoes, and red-pepper flakes and bring back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 5 minutes. Add the kale and bring the soup back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes and kale are tender, about 6 minutes longer.

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