Let’s talk about kale. I didn’t grow up eating it and it pretty much never showed up on my radar until I started getting boxes of farm produce delivered. Then all of a sudden I was faced with a question lots of people may have about kale: “What is this and how do I use it?” Since then, it’s moved into the territory of being one of my favorite greens (then again, if you’re a regular reader you know I have a thing for greens).
Unlike some other greens and vegetables that have more fiber when they are raw, kale is unique in that cooking it actually breaks down the cells so that your body can take better advantage of the good stuff inside of those cells. I forget where I heard that, but here’s another article that mentions it. And everything on the internet is true, right? But it does make sense that a tough green like kale isn’t exactly the easiest thing for your body to break down in it’s raw form. I’ve tried simply sauteing kale with onions in butter or olive oil but a longer cook time is actually better. I’ve tried kale chips which aren’t bad but I’ve found that soup form is the most approachable way to enjoy kale. This soup (similar to a Portuguese soup, I hear) is one of my husband’s favorites and our go-to way to use kale. Worth a try for even those who usually avoid leafy green things!
Aside from some olive oil, salt and pepper, there are five base ingredients for this soup. The kale shown in these pictures is actually three bunches from the farmer’s market (keeps well as a “floral” arrangement if you don’t use it immediately) so you only need one bunch, one or two potatoes, half of any type of onion and two or three links of Italian sausage. Raw is preferable and I use chicken because… well… because I like it better, really. Optional in addition to that:
White beans. Cannellini beans are technically what you should use but I had Great Northern Beans. No, I don’t know what those are or other names for them. Yes, the ones pictured are uncooked and I cooked them quick for the soup. Yes, you could use drained canned white beans instead. Or just omit them and the soup is just as good.
First, enlist your husband to peel potatoes. Or wife, boyfriend, child, girlfriend, roommate, etc. Or just, you know, suck it up and do it yourself. I just wanted to be clear these are not my lady arms.
Chop up the potato into bite sized pieces. As you all know, uniformity is good when chopping things up for cooking because then they cook evenly. Just adhere to that rule of thumb. If you have little mouths to feed, just use a smaller dice and adjust your cooking time.
Everyone knows proper onion dicing technique, right? Cut the top off (leave the root on because it holds it together), cut in half. Lay the onion on the cut side and slice across to it but not through the root, then slice perpendicular to that down, then as shown in the third image when you cut, it’s diced! I’m sure you can find a better demonstration somewhere on YouTube if you aren’t familiar with this technique.
Once your sausage and onions are cooked and seasoned with some red pepper you simply pour in 8-10 cups of broth (or water + bouillon), throw in the potatoes and the kale, give it a stir, cover and bring it to a boil for 20 to 30 minutes. You don’t really need to stir it during that time but I certainly did once or twice to make sure the kale got incorporated as it started to wilt.
The kale will magically– I know, not really “magic”– work its way into the soup. If you’re using beans, you can add them with the potatoes and kale or now after everything has been cooked and just make sure they have enough time to heat up. This is when you check to make sure your potatoes aren’t crunchy and the thick stalks of the kale have broken down to your liking. Then serve!
There you have it, another ridiculously easy, simple and inexpensive recipe that is good for you. If you’ve made it this far and you don’t try this kale soup I will be very disappointed because this is such an approachable way to enjoy a “super food.” Let me know what you think!
Kale, Sausage and Potato Soup