I know – everyone is on a Kale Kick but it is super healthy, pretty darn yummy, versatile and easy to work with… oh, and fairly inexpensive. Seems like a win to me. This soup was an adventure since I let my Heart pick out the sausage but it will seriously work with any sausage you choose or even other proteins and it could totally go vegetarian, maybe add a can of beans.
The inspirational recipe: Smokey Mountain Sausage & Kale Soup.
Here’s how this worked – I say to my Heart, “Go pick out a sausage for the kale soup I’m trying” and he returns with (see pic). Never one to stifle his creative instincts, we go with it. Now, the recipe calls for a turkey kielbasa, so a pre-cooked sausage, but what the heck.
Brown the sausage in a little olive oil until cooked through and cut into chunks. If you are using pre-cooked sausage, like kielbasa, I would cut into chunks and brown in a little olive oil. The caramelization adds a flavor punch and keeps the sausage from being soggy.
Four skinny carrots (or two larger carrots) and three or four medium red potatoes – peel, coarsely chop into small chunks. Medium yellow onion, diced and four Baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and rough chopped. You want the veg pieces to be small enough to cook up fairly quickly but also big enough for a hearty bite on a soup spoon. The inspirational recipe recommended leaving the skin on the potatoes but I felt like peeling them – I think either would work. I would recommend new / red potatoes vs. russet potatoes. You want a waxy potato that will hold up during the cooking process. I will also add more mushrooms next time – they were delicious. I think there are other vegetable options as well – experiment!
Combine in a large stock pot or dutch oven with the cooked sausage. Pour in two 46oz. cans of chicken broth.
I use the packaged pre-washed kale (4c). If you buy bunch kale, wash thoroughly. Pick through the kale, removing the thick stems, and tear into bite-sized pieces.
And finally, seasoning: 5 cloves of garlic, minced, 2-3 tsp garlic powder, 2-3 tsp onion powder, 2-3 tsp oregano, 2 tsp smoked paprika, and freshly ground black pepper. (I don’t generally cook with salt and there is often quite a bit of sodium in sausage but you can add salt to taste, if you prefer).
Combine thoroughly, bring up to a boil and then reduce the temperature and simmer (bubble) for 45-minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Super hearty and satisfying. Serve with crusty bread because the broth is delicious (ours was gluten-free toast). This soup was even better the next couple of days for lunch. It would make a nice spring soup as well, not to heavy and super healthy.
Notes: My Heart’s thoughts for future versions. Maybe dumplings would be good and chicken would be a nice change from the sausage. He also thought a sprinkling of chopped bacon on top, “for texture”, would be a good addition because “everything is better with bacon!