Monday, November 05, 2007
SMOKED SAUSAGE, KALE, AND POTATO SOUP
(Sorry about the blurry photo. It was dark, Amazing Race was on, and I just wanted to eat. Even as I snapped the shutter, I was already leaning away to grab a spoon and dig in.)
It’s funny how much more spontaneous and improvisational I am with the CSA food than with the food I actually choose myself. Because it’s bonus food, surprise food, I’m much more willing to play fast and loose with it. I wouldn’t normally have bookmarked this recipe in Bon Appetit, but with some kale burning a hole in my pocket it suddenly sounded like a good bet. (Admittedly, I figured that just in case it turned out I didn’t like the taste of the kale or totsoi, spicy smoked sausage makes everything taste better. Also, the caraway seeds intrigued me; I love them in rye bread. Mmm, suddenly I want a patty melt.) And I wouldn’t normally have made this many adjustments to a recipe I was trying for the very first time, but since I was only making the recipe out of expediency—just this one time, to use up the kale, not to add to my permanent repertoire—I was feeling reckless. In doubling the original recipe from two servings to four, I increased some quantities (sausage, chicken broth, potatoes, caraway) but not others (wine, kale). I threw in an onion and some garlic too, because it seemed like that would make it taste better. And of course, I was using a mix of Russian red kale and totsoi. Anything could happen! I made a couple of loaves of no-knead bread (photo added!) and some apple crisp to round out the meal, just in case.
Well, the joke’s on me, because I loved this soup. It was quick, it was easy, it tasted good. It was hearty, great for the first day off of Daylight Savings when it suddenly gets dark at 5 PM, great with the crusty bread to mop up the savory broth. Every choice I made was the right one. I’d even make it again, even if I didn’t have kale to use up. I think you could use just about any green—spinach, chard—but heck, I’d go ahead and willingly buy kale to make this again. The totsoi was good, too. I’m not sure I could tell the difference between them once they were cooked, but I nibbled on a few raw totsoi leaves and thought they’d make a nice salad.
It’s still true, though. Spicy smoked sausage makes everything taste better. I used a Cajun-style chicken andouille from Trader Joe’s. Also, I diced the potatoes instead of slicing them. I don’t know why. Who cares? I’m a cook gone wild!
8 ounces smoked fully cooked sausage (such as kielbasa or andouille), sliced into rounds
1 onion, minced
1–2 large garlic cloves, minced
5½ cups good-quality low-salt chicken broth, preferably homemade
1½ pounds small red-skinned potatoes, cut into small dice
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups thinly sliced trimmed kale leaves (or other greens)
½ teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute sausage slices with onion and garlic in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat until onion is softened and sausage is beginning to brown. Add chicken broth, potatoes, and white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add kale and caraway seeds to soup and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes and kale are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Time: 40 minutes