Skip to main content

Crazy for kale soup

We joined a local farm's CSA two weeks ago. That's right...we joined a farm share thing in the middle of winter. Why now, you ask, instead of in the spring when things are new and sprouting and warm? Because I freaking love cold-weather veggies! Turnips, kale, butternut squash, parsnips, sprouts! Let's not forget the old standby broccoli and cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Every week is an adventure because we don't really know what we'll get, but every week we have fresh, local veggies (and eggs...the most delicious, buttery eggs I've ever tasted). And every week we learn new things about food and how to make it taste good.

I happy-danced in the farm market Saturday when I looked in our CSA bag and saw a large, curly-leafed, dark green mass of leaves. KALE! My favorite of all leafy greens. So tonight I made my favorite soup, Portuguese kale soup, and served it up with warm home-baked bread. It may be 25 degrees outside, but inside it's warm and spicy. And homey and lovey and delicious.

Mmm-mmm good
You need this recipe, too, which is my own take on my Vovo's (that's grandmother in Portuguese) kale soup. I recall my dad making this once and spending two days on it -- first rendering the chicken stock, then soaking and cooking the beans. However, because I am a working mama of two wild-child maniacs who need constant reminders that we cannot jump on the couch nor ride the cat nor play drums on our brother's head, my version takes only about 90 minutes total (and much of that time is simmer time).

Vovo's Portuguese Kale Soup

What you need:
  • 1 lb linguica or chourico sausage, casing removed, chopped into small pieces (these are Portuguese sausages, which you may be able to find in your grocery meat section; if you can't find it, you could probably substitute Mexican chorizo for a similar flavor)
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 small red bliss potatoes, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
  • 2 cans kidney beans or cannelini beans (or one of each)
  • 1-2 pounds fresh kale (or two boxes frozen kale), rinsed and cut into small pieces
  • fresh ground pepper, oregano, hot sauce, or red pepper flakes to taste

How you do:
Cut sausage into bite sized pieces, and fry on stove top. While sausage is frying, pour chicken broth/stock and tomatoes into large sauce pan over medium heat. Once the sausage is browned, remove it to paper towel-lined plate to drain grease, then add to broth/tomato mixture. Drain grease from pan, but leave some of the baked-in bits of sausage.

Add olive oil to pan; scrape bits of browned sausage into oil as it heats. Add onion, carrots, and potatoes to pan and heat until tender (about 10-15 minutes, covered and stirring often). [This is a good time to chop up your fresh kale, or heat it if you're using frozen.] Throw in the garlic for just a couple minutes to heat through.

Add sauteed veggies to soup pot. Add beans. Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat. Simmer about 30 minutes. Taste it and add pepper and oregano, if you want. (Chourico is way spicier than linguica, so if you use the latter, you may want to kick it up with a couple splashes of hot sauce or red pepper flakes earlier in the process.)

About 10 minutes before serving, start adding the kale to the pot. It will wilt down a lot, but I add it in small batches and stir it through. (We like a lot of kale, but you should only add as much or as little as you want.)

I serve this with crusty rolls or bread, natch. And the whole family smiles broadly and sings "mmmmmm" as they take the first bites.


Popular posts from this blog

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Boardwalk ghosts

“Imagine this, buddy, in the middle of summer, especially near the Fourth of July. Wall to wall people, just sort of moving in and out of each other. Flashing lights. Loud music. Screams from Morey’s Pier, laughter on the swirly rides. Oh...and the cream, funnel cake, fudge, cheese steaks, pizza, fries...the smells alone would drive you nuts!” 
It’s 5:00 on the evening before his Nana’s funeral, and we’re standing in a windy drizzle on an empty Wildwood boardwalk. My mind has flashed back to the summer of 1991, when I spent a week here with my best friend. Wicked sunburn. Tandem bike adventures. Water slides. Thrill rides. A ground-shaking thunderstorm. Friendship bracelets. College guys taking showers outside. Ice cream and VCR movies every night.

Back in the here-and-now I’m trying to explain to Zippy what this place is like when it’s not October. He’s been to Rehoboth and Ocean City and Old Orchard Beach, but none of those come anywhere close to Wildwood in peak season.…


Zippy and I hiked in the woods the other day, following the icy trails around Evergreen Cemetery. The cold air stung our eyes but the sun shone warm and bright, and it felt great to breathe fresh air. As he skipped and hopped and twirled beside, in front, and around me, I felt peaceful, happy, content. Until I realized the Womens' March is in a few days, I am going, and I don't know what to expect. I've never done anything like this, except for a few years ago at Occupy Philly, which was nothing compared to the numbers they're anticipating this weekend. The Women's March will be a peaceful protest, yes, but 200,000 is an awful lot of people in highly charged city during turbulent times. I felt anxiety creeping into my chest.

"So you know I'm going away this weekend, right? To Washington, D.C. For just two sleeps. Do you know why I'm going?" I asked Zippy.
"Because you don't like Donald Trump and he's going to be the President."