Recipe – Spicy Sausage Kale and Potato Soup

Often when I’m writing up recipes for this blog, it’s something I haven’t made before.  So I’m just as interested as the rest of you might be in how the recipe turns out.  Occasionally if I am underwhelmed by the recipe (or by my creation of it), you never hear about it.  Today’s recipe, though, is another good one, and I knew that even before I made it recently because I’d made it before.  The first time I made this recipe was nearly four years ago, and I remember being astonished at it.

Because on the face, sausage kale and potato soup doesn’t sound that interesting.  Yes, those are all yummy things – though maybe kale isn’t your jam.  Or maybe you’re like someone else I know who doesn’t like sausage (what???).  And while I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t like potatoes, or soup in general, I’m sure they’re out there.  But the point is that this soup has humble ingredients, and yet somehow together, they taste extraordinary.

You think I’m exaggerating.  Well, for once I have backup.  I made this soup on a weeknight when the Boy and I were planning on eating dinner together (instead of him working late), and this recipe had been on my mind, remembering it from the previous times I’d made it.  So while he went out for a run with E (gearing for her first Girls on the Run practice), I sliced and chopped and prepped everything.  Because it’s actually a pretty quick soup to cook, it just takes more prep than you’d think.

The point of telling you that he was running is to emphasize the fact that he was suddenly very hungry.  So once the girls were asleep and we had time to sit down and eat dinner, he was ready.  And while I knew that I had enjoyed this particular soup in the past, I didn’t know what his reaction would be.  It was EFFUSIVE.  He loved it.  He said more than once “If you want to make soup – this soup – all the time during the fall and winter, I’d be ok with it”.  And since that night, any time I’ve made myself a quick soup on a night when I haven’t felt like cooking, he looks at me with puppy dog eyes and says, “I like soup too”.

The point is – this is good stuff.  Hearty, but still somehow light.  I think that might be due to the fact that the original recipe includes putting cream into the soup, but I forgot to do that the first time, and haven’t done so since, and I regret nothing.  It’s got a great variety of textures – chewy sausage, the leafy bite of chopped kale, and the softened smushiness of cooked potato slices.  And if you use spicy Italian sausage as suggested, it also has this wonderful spicy flavor in most spoonfuls that isn’t overwhelming, but gives the soup another layer.

Anyways.  We’re technically in fall.  We are nearly in actual cool fall weather.  At some point, eating hearty soup for dinner every night will feel like the right choice.  Unfortunately since the days when I was making this for my single-lady self, there are fewer leftovers when you invite a hungry man into your life.  But if you are a soup person, or occasionally like to eat things that make someone say, “I could eat this every night”, perhaps this is a recipe you should try.

And the tip about serving with crusty bread?  Do it.  It will make this recipe that much better.

Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

1 pound spicy italian sausage
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped, (4 overflowing handfuls)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg [Optional, if only because I often forget it]
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced
8 cups chicken broth or stock, 2 boxes
1/2 cup heavy cream [OPTIONAL]

Instructions

To prep – remove sausages from casings, stem and chop kale, cut and slice potatoes (small enough to be bite sized).

Heat a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Once the pot has heated through, add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon, begin to break up the sausage and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has fully browned. Remove the crisped sausage from the pot and transfer it to a plate or bowl. Set aside.

Lower the heat to medium, add the butter or oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Stir, scraping down the bottom of the pot picking up the browned bits of sausage with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until soft and translucent about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Continue to sauté until the onions have caramelized.

Add the chopped kale in batches, allowing it to wilt down as it cooks. It might seem like a lot of kale [It will seem OVERWHELMING] but it will cook down.  Add the nutmeg and stir. Cook the kale for another 3 minutes until it has turned bright green and completely wilted down. Throw in the sliced potatoes and cooked sausage.

Pour in the chicken stock or broth and bring it up to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer until the potatoes are cooked tender and soft. Taste the soup for seasoning, at this point you may add more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes, if desired. Once the potatoes are fully cooked (one should slide off a knife that is speared into its side), stir in the heavy cream. Serve right away with some bread on the side.

Details: Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup from The Candid Appetite

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