Finally! We have some nice warm, spring weather. Time to get out in the yard and garden and really get to work. As my grandmother used to say, we’ve been so busy that “our shirt tails haven’t touched us all day!” There’s no happier busy in the world, but it still leaves me feeling kind of lazy about cooking at the end of the day. Which is why I love making soup – especially a lively one like this Kale & Spicy Sausage Soup. I like getting everything in the pan, and then both of us getting to sit on the porch with a glass of wine and some snacks while dinner cooks itself. That is a good end to the day!
Kale is some pretty awesome stuff, and not just because of how much I love it, or how good it is for you – it actually overwinters in our zone 5 garden! It doesn’t look like much when the snow first melts, but a few weeks later, we can get a couple meals out of it before the new spring crop starts coming in. Then, we pull it and plant something else there, but it’s wonderful to enjoy that first homegrown thing of the year. It goes really nicely with the root veggies in the soup too – a good green contrast that we love.
I left the carrots sort of tender-crisp and the kale barely wilted, but if you prefer, you can let it simmer just a bit longer to cook the veg a little more.
- 8 – 10 ounces spicy Italian sausage
- 1 rib celery, sliced thin
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 large carrots, sliced in thin rounds
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano [or double the amount of fresh]
- 1 medium potato sliced thinly
- About 8 ounces of cleaned and chopped kale
- 1 cup half and half
- Brown the sausage in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. You can brown it whole and slice it after cooling a bit, or remove from the casings and brown in crumbles – it is a matter of preference, and either way, set the cooked sausage aside.
- In the drippings from the sausage, sweat the celery, onion, carrots and garlic.
- Cook about 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until mostly reduced.
- Add the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer.
- Add back the sausage, along with the potato slices and the kale.
- Keep at a simmer, just until the potatoes are tender, stirring every so often.
- Stir in the cream and bring back to serving temperature.
- Serve in bowls with a few shavings of an aged Italian cheese if you like.
I like to serve this with a hearty bread, and if you make it into garlic bread, so much the better.