Here's a tip: want the best flavor at the lowest price? Buy things in season. You can't go wrong, I promise! So if you've been wondering why I'm on a kale kick, it's because winter greens like kale are in season and will be much more affordable than say a delicate arugula that needs a warm summer wind to nurture it. This soup gets its kick from spicy Andouille sausage (which of course you may replace with another variety if it better suits your tastes) and it's nutrition from the kale. It freezes reasonably well also if you want to make a big batch and put some away.
Spicy Kale Soup
6 cups chicken stock (check back soon for how to make your own!)
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed, starchy variety
1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium onion, diced, about 1 cup
2 cloves garlic, minced, about 1 tablespoon
1/2 pound sausage, Andouille best
4 cups kale, tough ribs removed, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
rind of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, optional
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of chicken stock to boil, then add potato and garlic and simmer for 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté sausage in a single layer until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove sausage and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same skillet and sauté onion until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped kale on top of onions, then add 1 cup chicken stock and quickly cover to allow kale to steam for 1 minute. Remove lid and stir occasionally until kale is just beginning to wilt.
Puree the potato, garlic and stock in a food processor until smooth, and then return to the saucepan. Add the browned sausage and the kale and onion mixture along with the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock and stir together briefly. If using the rind for flavoring, add to the soup. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove rind and add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: As much as I preach about buying local, some things just can't be found in Colorado. Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano comes from the Parma area of Italy and is aged 24 months. You'll find it sold in wedges that retain the thick rind of the cheese wheel with a distinct dotted label on the rind. After you have used the cheese for grating, save these rinds in a plastic bag in the freezer - they add a tangy background flavor in soups and stews. P.S. I think the Parmigiano Reggiano sold at Costco has wonderful flavor - compares to what I've eaten in Italy!)