Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

Did I mention it’s soup weather here in Portland? Not to mention that I am fighting a cold, so that’s like double bonus points for soup.  I picked up a large bunch of curly kale and some hot Italian sausage at the farmer’s market yesterday, which then made me think of the 6 little orphan potatoes kicking around on my countertop, which then made me buy a baguette at the Pearl Bakery stand as I began to formulate a kale, sausage, and potato soup. Again, soup is very versatile, so don’t be afraid to change up ingredients. Sometimes if I don’t have potatoes, I’ll drain and rinse 2 cans of cannellini or northern beans and add them to the kale and sausage. Also tasty.

1 1/4 lbs Italian sausage (I used pork, but turkey is good too), removed from the casings

1 large onion, small dice

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 small potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds

4 cups chicken broth

1 large bunch of curly kale, leaves stripped from the stalks and torn into bite-size pieces

I included the kale stalks in the picture so you could see what I meant about stripping off all the leaves. I don’t use them in the soup, but if you absolutely must, they will take more time to cook than the leaves so add them with the potatoes.

Heat a 6 quart pot over medium heat. If you use turkey Italian sausage, you might want to add a Tbsp of olive oil, but I didn’t add any because I used pork sausage and it had plenty of it’s own fat.  Add the sausage to the pot and break it up into small pieces. Cook until it starts to brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to further break up the meat and brown all the pieces evenly. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the chicken broth and potatoes and bring the liquid to a boil before turning down to medium-low and simmering until the potatoes start to soften, about 10 minutes.  

Add the kale- it will seem like a ton of greens and you’ll be wondering why I told you to add so much, but greens always cook down so add them all anyways and put the lid on the pot just for a minute or two until the kale has started to wilt down and now you can stir it without pieces of kale flying everywhere.  Cook until the kale is tender, about 7-10 minutes.  I did not add any extra salt to this soup because the sausage and broth were already salty. So taste your soup before you add salt. Serve with a lovely baguette and perhaps a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.