Friday, October 28, 2011
Kale and Potato Soup
My grandma, who hailed from Arkansas, loved her greens and vinegar, fried okra, and catfish or carp caught in a local lake. My sister and I usually stayed with her for at least a week every summer. Suppertime was an experience. Do you know how slimy and hairy okra can be to a nine year old? Or how many bones one encounters trying to eat an Illinois carp? For that matter, have you ever taken the dinner leftovers out to a garden and tossed them onto the "worm pile," used as a fertilizer to grow more, uh, okra?
Sorry, I have strayed from my recipe. My point is that after all these years of cooking veggies and making soup, I have never tasted the amazing concoction called Kale and Potato Soup.
Man, this is some good.
I read the recipe in Laurel's Kitchen and had to modify it to accommodate a no fat, no dairy diet. A few months ago, I would have maybe read the recipe but then noticed on the same page what looks like a scrumptious Potato and Cheddar Soup and just gone for that. No question.
I would have never known how awesome soup can really be. Here is my modification of Laurel's recipe.
1 large yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine (or water if you prefer, but really…)
2 large russet potatoes (or 3–4 medium ones) cubed - leave the skins on for a hearty, rustic soup
3 cups fresh kale, destemmed and chopped into small pieces
4 cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups water with Swanson's vegetable flavor enhancer added)
salt and pepper to taste
This is the simplest soup I have ever made, and also one of the best.
Saute the onion in a hot, salted pan until you see brown bits start to form.
Add the chopped garlic and saute a bit longer.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
Add the potatoes, broth, and a pinch or two of salt.
Let this simmer for a while until the potatoes get very soft.
Meanwhile, steam the kale with a small amount of water in a separate pan. (Laurel cautions that if you add it to the potato mixture to steam, it will develop too strong a flavor. Better to steam it separately, drain the water, and just add the soft kale to the finished soup.)
Use an immersion blender to puree about half of the potato-onion mixture. (Or, transfer some to a blender or food processor. Puree and return to pot.)
Add the steamed kale. Blend it all together with a spoon.
Wonderful soup for a fall or winter evening!
Kale descended from wild cabbage originally grown in Asia. It became popular in Germany, Holland, and Scotland and was brought to the US in the 1600s by the English. Kale is at its height during the winter months, when the cold temperatures make it the sweetest.
BTW, I recommended that anyone wanting to eat a more healthy diet buy a copy of Laurel's Kitchen. Many great and simple recipes and a plethora of reliable nutrition information. Although some recipes include oil, eggs, and dairy, most can be modified to avoid these.