Hello readers and sorry for the long pause. The last few weeks have been such a whirlwind. I can’t even remember the last night I got a full 6 hours of sleep. It feels like undergrad all over again – late nights, Red Bull, Vietnamese coffee. Lots of cuddle sessions with my laptop as I frantically try to crank out paper after paper. But thank goodness most of my half-semester classes have finally ended, and I should be cruising right to graduation. In these last few weeks when time and energy were at an ultimate low, the best thing to whip up in the kitchen was/is SOUP. Especially now that it’s autumn and the weather is a bit chilly, soup is the cure for a rough day. Soup is a prophylactic for the seasonal cold. Soup is my savior. Warm, versatile, filling, delicious. Here are a few of them now…
Meatless Tortilla Soup with Home-fried Tortilla Strips
Hearty Chunky Veggie and Beef Stew with BowTie Pasta
Creamy Potato Kale Sausage Soup
These are among my most frequented soups, as they are quick, easy to prep, and just hits the spot every time. Soup making is an excellent way to use up pantry/leftover foods. A spare carrot from carrot cake making? A celery stalk left over from those buffalo wings? Cans of beans? Veggies just past their prime? Leftover rotisserie chicken? Into the pot they go – and love, seasoning, and time turn them into delicious 1-bowl meals. I’ve recently developed a kale obsession, so 2 of the pictures above feature strips of dark, leafy kale – which holds up so well in a soup. The texture, the earthy and subtle bitterness adds such nice contrast and balance to the other ingredients in the soup. Below is a recipe I adapted from Pioneer Woman. I essentially added a few more herbs and some leeks (loooove leeks too) – it’s just so darn satisfying, try it out yourself!
Kale, Sausage, Potato Soup
Adapted from Pioneer Woman. Serves 2-3.
5 red potatoes, skin on, cleaned, thinly sliced
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing [alt: 1/2 lb ground beef/pork + fennel + oregano + garlic + onion + paprika + salt/pepper]
1 small onion, chopped
1 leek, white & light green part thinly sliced
2-3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 c chicken stock
~5 sprigs fresh thyme
1-2 bay leaves
1 bunch kale, cleaned & cut into eatable strips
1/2 c heavy cream [the potatoes make it creamy enough!!]
freshly cracked black pepper
In a medium pot, cook sliced potatoes (skin ON), until tender. Drain and set aside.
Place a large soup pot on high heat, and add a teeny splash of olive oil. Once hot, add the sausage meat (or ground meat), and vigorously break up the meat as it begins to brown. Once cooked 75% through, reduce heat to medium and add chopped onion, celery and leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. While sauteeing, add a dash (or 5) of cayenne pepper. This will really bring out the spices in the sausage meat, and a nice contrast to the richness of the soup. And if you accidentally add too much – not to worry, the heavy cream will help neutralize some of the heat.
To the pot, add chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves, and bring to rolling boil. Add to pot cooked potatoes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. After another 15 minutes or so of cooking, fish out thyme and bay leaves. Using an emulsion blender or very carefully in a regular blender, blitz the soup until desired consistency. I prefer a chunky soup so I don’t blend it for too long, but if you want something smoother – by all means, blend away.
To the pot, add kale and allow to wilt in soup before adding heavy cream. Again, adjust seasoning one last time before serving with a nice bit of crusty bread. Enjoy!
The red skin on the potatoes and the dark leafy kale look so pretty together. And those potatoes – creamy, warm and just so perfect for a chilly autumn day.
Until next time,