Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Eating the Seasons: Kale and Sausage Soup

I recently joined a CSA here in Southern California. I love the concept of a CSA because it really encourages you to eat locally and seasonally. Unlike the CSA I belonged to back in Massachusetts, where I went to the farm myself and picked out what I wanted from the offerings they had on hand, my new CSA delivers a prepackaged box directly to my doorstep. That means I never know quite what I'm going to get until it actually shows up. Honestly, I kind of like this aspect of it because it forces me to get creative and use things I might not normally try (waste not, want not!).

In last week's delivery, I got a bunch of kale, a big leek, a few red potatoes, a bunch of carrots, a bunch of radishes and a selection of delicious pears, apples and persimmons. Some of that is regular fare in this household. But the kale and leeks? Not so much. My husband especially is not a big fan of any of either. But I really wanted him to give them another try. So I went in search of a recipe I thought would tickle his fancy.

Since he is a big fan of sausage and bacon (you have to admit, they do make a lot of dishes taste better!), I started looking for recipes that would incorporate one of those. Eventually I stumbled upon this sausage and kale soup recipe, which ended up being the inspiration for my riff below. I tweaked it to use the some of the other ingredients I got in my CSA box and to match my husband's tastes (no mushrooms or cauliflower allowed!). Served with a big chunk of crusty sourdough bread, I have to say it was the perfect meal for a chilly Sunday night. (Leave the bread out and it's a great gluten-free option, too!)

The broth was incredibly savory and there was absolutely no bitterness in the kale or overwhelming "onion-iness" from the leeks. My husband not only ate 2 bowls that night, but also gobbled up the leftovers for lunch the next day. That's a sure sign of a successful recipe in my book! I actually hope we get more kale in this week's delivery so I can make it again! I highly suggest you give it a try—even if you think you don't like kale (or you have a picky eater at home).

Kale and Sausage Soup
(Serves 4)

2 links mild Italian sausage
5 small carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 large leek, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 c. white whine
6 cups chicken stock
2 small potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
2 cups coarsely chopped kale
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1. Slice sausages in half lengthwise and then again width-wise, creating 8 equal size pieces.
2. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausages in a single layer and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. 
3. Take sausages out of the pot and set aside on a plate for later. Leave the sausage drippings in the pot (do not drain!).
4. Add chopped leeks and white wine to the pot. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add carrots and cook another 5 minutes until leeks are fully softened and translucent.
5. Pour the chicken broth into the pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to help scrape off any caramelized sausage drippings from the bottom of the pan.
6. Once soup comes to a boil, add the sausages back in (along with any juices that may have run out as they sat), along with the kale, potato, bay leaf and oregano. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.
7. Pull the bay leaf and sausage back out of the pot. Cut the sausage into bite-sized slices and add back into soup before serving. (Discard bay leaf.)

1 comment:

SuperCutePetContest said...

That looks delicious! Kale is one of my favorites.