Soup, Glorious Soup!

All right, now that you have some great bread, and some delicious (in moderation) butter (discussed in the last two posts below), the next logical place my mind goes is soup, and you’ve got a meal for any day of the week.

Soup can take hours or minutes to cook, can have one, two, or ten ingredients, can be rustic or refined, meaty or vegetarian, and can be made out of just about anything you have on hand.

This week, we had one of our favorite seasonal soups, Sausage and Kale Soup. It is simple, warming, comforting, and delicious, and is fairly easy on the figure, depending on what sausage you use. I currently use chourico (pronounced “shereece”), a Portuguese spicy sausage similar to chorizo, and the traditional sausage used in this soup here in New England. But the recipe I started with used kielbasa, which was also tasty. Read the labels of your sausage; I was surprised to find an undesirable amount of sugar/carbohydrates in some brands, as well as unnecessary artificial ingredients. If you have never used kale, give it a try. It is a great green for soups, because you cannot cook it too long; it can sometimes be a little bitter, and a good long simmer in some vegetable or chicken broth cures that. It doesn’t completely fall to mush like spinach or swiss chard do after long cooking, so it is also a hearty green. Just remove the leafy part from the stem, and chop. The stems aren’t tasty, so don’t use those. Add some warm bread and butter, and life is good.

Sausage and Kale Soup (adapted from Light and Tasty Magazine)

3/4 C chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
4 C chicken broth (low sodium, no sodium, or homemade no salt, the sausage is salty)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (you don’t have to peel them if you clean them well)
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound kale, trimmed and chopped (it’s about 4 C, it looks like a lot, but it cooks down)
1 pound chourico, chorizo, polish sausage or kielbasa, cut in bite size pieces

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the broth, potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, brown chourico in a skillet. If using a fully-cooked sausage, skip this step. I have found that if you just let the sausage cook a long time in the soup, the broth gets very salty, and the sausage ends up flavorless.

Using a potato masher, mash potatoes slightly. Add the kale and cook over medium low heat, using tongs to stir the kale and help it wilt down. Cover and simmer until kale is tender and any bitterness is cooked out. Stir in your sausage of choice, and simmer to warm through and blend flavors, about 5 min. Check seasonings, and serve. Enjoy.

Makes 4-6 hearty bowlsful

Leave your favorite soup recipes in the comments, and we can all share!

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