I constantly find myself pondering how to incorporate more leafy greens into my diet. Seeing that I generally hate leafy greens, this is a tedious, often infuriating task. I find myself standing before the produce aisle, rows of pre-packaged spinach and kale in various sizes in front of me. Maybe if I go ahead and buy the monstrosity of a bag that costs $8, I’ll be inclined to actually eat it before it all goes bad? Into the cart it goes, then into the refrigerator. For days the bags of rabbit food stare at me, inundating me with guilt because I reach for the bottle of wine once more instead of them.
I try, I really do (kind of). I’ll excitedly toss a handful of spinach into scrambled eggs, only to be reduced to silent gags when I bit into a giant clump of mushy green, about as tasty as the cartoon version of the vegetable in Popeye. Or I’ll toss a salad with kale, forgetting to awkwardly “massage” the leaves into a tender state, leaving them rough, sharp, and bitter. But every now and again, the food gods bequeath a recipe upon me that makes getting my daily vitamins remarkably bearable. Although more often than not there’s a hefty amount of dairy product involved. It counts, people.
Spinach redeemed itself in a pasta creation that is forthcoming to the blog, but today we’re going to celebrate the happy reconciliation of every taste bud-possessing human with kale.
Sausage and kale seem clearly made for each other. The decadence and sinfulness of pork products wrap themselves like a big, warm hug around the bitter plant, slowly forcing it to surrender itself to some form of edibility. To make matters a thousand times better, we used spicy sausage, offering a much-welcomed kick to the end product. The added ingredient of rustic and starchy potatoes takes it to another level.
With soup weather upon us, it was a happy adventure to make this in the kitchen one afternoon, mug of chai tea (or red wine – I don’t remember) in hand. I started by cooking the sausage and onions in a heavy stock pot, leaving all of the juices right where they were – no draining involved. I wanted them to come out and play nice with the kale, nasty little bugger that it is. In went the potatoes, coated with the savory juices of the onion and spicy sausage. Then the kale, and a surprising amount of beef broth. Instead of opting for the go-to chicken stock, we decided beef broth added a level of savory decadence that would have otherwise been missing. The goal was to make this a soup, that while healthy, sticks to your ribs. And I daresay we were right. We let all of that come to a roaring bowl, then a quiet simmer, until the potatoes were tender and at a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. From here, I added a wee bit of heavy cream to give it a comforting, creamy consistency. This step is optional, especially if you’re serious about the health benefits of your kale-intake.
We scooped the chunky soup into the heartiest soup bowls we have, sprinkled it with parmesan for good measure, and employed a few pieces of crusty bread to be the professional soppers-of-broth. This recipe makes a decent amount of soup, so half if if you’re looking for a one-night only dinner. However, like so many concoctions of flavors, I was quite partial to it the days after its initial making, with the flavors beautifully melded together in a big bowl of savory warmth.
Sausage and Kale Soup
- 16 oz spicy pork sausage
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 russet potatoes diced into 1" cubes
- 10 cups beef broth
- 4 cups kale loosely packed (roughly 3 handfuls)
- 1/2 cup cream
- Grated parmesan for topping
- Heat a large stock pot with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the spicy sausage and cook until just done, breaking it up into small chunks as it cooks.
- Add the potatoes and kale and stir to combine with the sausage and onion mixture. Add the beef broth, heavy cream, and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and ready.
- Serve warm, topped with grated parmesan.