Friday, February 23, 2007

Soup's On!

Well, February is upon us, and here in South Georgia, the cold weather is finally coming to an end. Isn’t February Soup Month? Even if it isn't, the warming weather isn’t enough to put me off. My best friend, otherwise known as the Bringer of Produce, brought me some kale and collards today. If you’re anything like me, kale is synonymous with soup. My favorite soup in fact. It was a recipe I saw on Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals WAY back when I lived with cable. She made her own version of a Portuguese Kale Soup with chorico, a Portuguese sausage, that she discovered on one of her $40 a Day shows. It looked so good that I never forgot it. Well, until I started making it that is.

Since it’s my favorite soup and I’ve made it a thousand times, I forget what the hell I do to make it so good. I can’t even find her recipe for it anymore since she had two listed on the Food Network. If you can swing with improv cooking and like a good hearty soup, try this. Now. While you can still get kale. Also, the original recipe called for a spicy hard sausage. I prefer chorizo. It’s ground pork and beef with spices. You can find it in the Latin food section. Using any sausage is probably fine, but you’ll have to adjust the recipe since I base the flavor of the soup heavily on the cooked out fat from the chorizo. Also, I’m lazy and like to use canned vegetables. Fresh kale is choice ( I used a mix of fresh kale and collards today), but any fresh, canned, or frozen green has worked with good results. Use your favorite. I like mine as almost a stew, so I prefer less stock to vegetables.

This is my best attempt at a real recipe. Adjust to your own taste.

Spicy Kale Soup

1 qt Chicken Broth
2 lbs kale
1 onion
About 4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 can chickpeas
1 can diced potatoes or about 2 fresh
1 can diced tomatoes or about 2 fresh
2 links chorizo (about 8 oz)

The chorizo needs to be fully cooked first, so sizzle that over medium heat with some onions while you wash the kale. When the meat is cooked and the onions transparent, add the chopped garlic and cook for roughly 30 seconds.

Add the quart of stock or water along with the two bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes, and kale all at the same time. (If you’re using chicken bouillon, add it now.) Bring back up to a boil and leave it for about a minute. This will be the last blast of heat.

Lower to a simmer for at least 20 minutes. Test the broth and readjust seasonings.

Tonight, I added a bit of cumin (my favorite spice) and some smoked paprika that I haven’t had a chance to work with much. I’ve missed this soup so much it’s crazy. I don’t care if the meat is fatty- this is as close to vegetable soup as I really get.

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