It is not unusual for people to turn up their noses at kale, especially in summer when it can be quite bitter or when eaten raw. But this vegetable sweetens after a frost, and is much more palatable in fall and early winter. When cooked in certain dishes, kale is a wonderful and nutritious addition. This recipe is a wonderful, rich crowd-pleaser for the Winter Solstice.
This soup is definitely an example of how to enjoy fresh kale (and other local ingredients). The chorizo and Italian sausages, fresh root vegetables and rich sweet cream set the stage for the kale to taste its best. Soup is a comfort food, and this winter solstice soup is as much a comfort for its flavor as it is for its heartiness.
Note: This soup can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or used over a few days time, but it does not freeze well.
Ingredients marked * are available now at the Saratoga Springs (Winter) Farmers’ Market.
- 4 cups of cold washed fresh kale *
- 10-12 whole local potatoes diced. * (Red potatoes hold up well in soups. For a slightly different flavor, use a couple of sweet potatoes.)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped *
- 3 garlic cloves *
- Olive oil
- 3 medium fresh carrots, peeled and sliced very thin *
- 1/2 pound chorizo sausage * (See note, below.)
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage * (See note below.)
- Approximately 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on preferred spiciness)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (Or use homemade from farmers’ market stewing chickens. *)
- 2 cups Battenkill Valley Creamery whole milk *
- 4 cups Battenkill Valley Creamery half-and-half *
- Fresh oregano *
- Black pepper to taste
(Notes: Use one type of sausage or a mixture, to total 1½ pounds. Use sweet Italian sausage only if the least amount of spice is desired No salt is needed because the sausages will contain enough.)
1. Wash kale in cold water and pat dry. Tear into small pieces and set aside.
2. Cut up potatoes, chop onions and garlic. Sauté all in a frying pan with olive oil until onions are tender, but not burned. Potatoes will not be done but will continue to cook in the soup. Put these ingredients into a large soup pot.
3. Cut carrots into less than ¼ inch thick slices and add to the pot.
4. If the sausage is in linked form, remove from casings and crumble. In the same pan used to sauté the vegetables and garlic, add a small amount of olive oil and cook one or both sausage varieties with the red pepper flakes until just cooked through. Drain fat, and scrape the meat into the soup pot.
5. Add the chicken broth to the pot and heat gently while stirring occasionally, to just below the boiling point. Add the kale and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring for 5-10 minutes.
6. Turn down heat and add the whole milk, cream and oregano. Continue stirring, until the mixture comes to a simmer. Cook for another five minutes, until heat has penetrated through the entire soup. Add black pepper to taste.
7. Serve immediately.
A version of this recipe appears in this week’s edition of Saratoga Today.