I planted Kale for the first time this year. I’d heard good things about how rich in nutrients it was and since I make green salads quite frequently, I decided to give it a try. Upon tasting it raw in a salad, I quickly determined never to plant it again. I even blogged about preferring to eat other salad greens rather than trying to disguise the kale’s bitter taste with other vegetables and dressings. My friend from college, Jenni, promised her soup with kale really was good. I trust Jenni so when she posted her recipe in the comments section on my blog, I had to give it a try.
This is the way kale should be eaten. Not one iota of bitterness remained. My family loves this soup. My son told my husband, “It’s good Dad. It’s apicy hot.”
“That’s the way soup should be,” my husband responded.
So let’s get started. You’ll need 1 pound Italian ground sausage, browned and drained.
Scrub, quarter, and cut 8-10 medium potatoes into 1/4-inch slices (no need to peel!).
You’ll need 3 quarts of good quality chicken broth (homemade is best). I read the note about homemade being best and decided to cook chicken for Sunday dinner and save the broth for Monday night when I planned to make this soup. Sunday morning I placed the thawed fryer in the slower cooker and thought, “Barbeque chicken sounds good.” Then I slathered the chicken with barbeque sauce and turned the slow cooker on. Five hours later I remembered I was supposed to make chicken broth. Thus the canned broth. And now you know that it tastes good with canned broth, too.
Jenni also included slow cooker instructions. You should begin to sense a pattern here. I love my slow cooker so of course I used those directions. It also helped that I was running around all afternoon picking up and depositing children at various soccer practices around town. Dinner had to cook itself because I wasn’t home to do it.
Now combine the browned sausage, broth, potatoes, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes in the slow cooker. Cook on high power for about five hours. The last half hour of cooking–you know while the children are bathing–chop enough kale to equal 4 cups.
This little chopping tool is one of the handiest kitchen gadgets, but a sharp knife will yield the same results.
Add 4 cups chopped kale to the slow cooker.
Stir to combine, cover, and cook half an hour more.
Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream just before serving.
I hope you like it as much as we did. Thanks Jenni–this one’s a keeper. I may even plant kale again next year. You can garnish with crisp bacon pieces if desired. (We’re out of bacon for a couple of months and I didn’t desire to buy any.)
Jenni’s Zuppa Toscana
Serves about 10
1 pound Italian ground sausage
3 quarts good quality chicken broth (homemade is best)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8-10 medium potatoes — scrubbed, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch slices (no need to peel!)
4 cups chopped kale or spinach (I’m trying 10 oz. of frozen chopped spinach today 12/17/09)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Bacon, cooked crisp for garnish (optional)
Brown sausage and drain well.
Combine broth and cream over medium heat. Add vegetables, sausage, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add bacon pieces just before serving.
I often make it in a slow cooker with these adaptations: Combine browned sausage, broth, potatoes and seasonings. Cook on high power for about five hours. Add kale for last half hour of cooking. Stir in cream just before serving.
Spinach may be substituted for kale.
This is a very versatile recipe. Keeping the broth and cream ratio the same, you can play with the quantities of the other ingredients all you want.