I have been making this soup for ages. As is stated in the original recipe, it really does have the strange quality of being a relatively light meal while also feeling hearty and generous. This effect is a product of it's silky, creamy texture, achieved by pureeing potatoes without the addition of cream (which makes it perfect for a mid-week healthy but delicious lunch).
This past weekend, when deciding what to prep for the following week and seeing rain on the forecast, I thought it would be comforting to have this recipe hanging in there for us. This time around, I updated it with a leek and freshly dried rosemary. I also decided to puree all the potatoes and broth, which was partially influenced by my decision to add full-size dried rosemary (if you've ever been impaled by rosemary, it's no fun). You'll find that most potato soup recipes recommend pureeing half the broth to leave full size potato pieces in the final product. If you think you'd prefer pieces, I recommend choping your rosemary before adding it to this recipe! But, I have to say - I prefer the increased potato-y broth to the original recipe's call for potato pieces.
This week's soup came out overly spicy. When I first brought it to a simmer, I tasted it and thought it was lovely, only to have Marcio taste it 40 minutes later and watch his initial "yum" turn into a scowl at the spicy aftertaste (which really seems to throat-punch you after 5 innocent seconds!). Since M can be a bit of a lightweight when it comes to spicy foods, I gave him a loving but judge-y look and tasted it myself, only to have my eyes tear up from the burn! I don't tend to measure out my spices and must have added much more than previous iterations. Lesson learned. Home cooks beware: red pepper flakes become spicier and spicier the longer you simmer them in a soup. Rest assured that the following recipe includes much-much less of said ingredient-that-cauterizes-throats. You can even leave it out entirely if you don't like spicy.
I absolutely recommend this soup for a rainy fall day. It will warm and nourish you from the inside out, without leaving you feeling sluggish. Enjoy on its own, with a glass of wine, or with a bright green salad. Top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and if you happen to have it on hand, and take a look at the ways to make it your own to see if an idea there appeals to you!
COMFORTING CHICKEN SAUSAGE, POTATO & KALE SOUP
- INGREDIENTS -
1 healthy glug olive oil (or about 1 TBSP)
1/2 medium-large white onion
4 garlic cloves (or more if you're using tiny cloves - I used about 8 tiny cloves in this recipe)
5 waxy potatoes (I use small yellow, comes to about 1.5-2 lbs)
1 bunch fresh lacinato kale (you can also use frozen or bagged, but it's easier to strip the fresh stuff if it's available!)
12 oz smoked chicken sausage
6 cups chicken broth (homemade or store bought)
1 TBSP dried (or a small bunch fresh ) oregano
1 TBSP dried (or a small bunch fresh) rosemary
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (you leave leave them out all together if you don't like spice!)
Salt and pepper to taste.
- MAKE IT YOUR OWN -
- For increased decadence - saute your leek-onion-garlic mix in butter instead of olive oil, add a parmesan rind to your broth while you boil it (remove prior to pureeing), and/or add 1/4 c heavy cream while you are simmering.
- No kale on hand? - no problem, try spinach. You'll want to add more than you think you'll need. Kale is heartier and holds up better in the potato broth, but spinach will work out just fine. Again, either frozen or fresh will do.
- Notice that my sausage pieces are cut into half moons and don't love it? - buy sausage from your butcher's counter as opposed to purchasing a pre-packaged sausage pack. Remove the casing and you'll notice that your sausage is crumblier. Your soup will have a more rustic look (I actually prefer it this way, but honestly - the chicken sausage packs were on sale. I only kicked myself for a minute afterwards. The soup turned out great anyhow).
- Want a little extra fiber and sustenance? - cook 1/2 c farro separately. Cook it using chicken broth if you have extra on hand. Season with salt and pepper and add it to your soup before serving.
- Not into chicken sausage? - try pork.
- "Soup" it up with some impressive party styling desired? - top your bowls with chopped bits or slices of crisp bacon, a small pile of cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and bright green chives.
- Want a thinner broth? - add more broth and more spices.
- Like a deeper orange and a sweeter-flavored fall broth? - consider adding carrots, sweet potato, or squash to your potato puree.
Freestyle a bit and have fun with it!
- INSTRUCTIONS -
Prep ingredients: Wash all produce. Peel and halve potatoes. Slice into quarters. Strip your kale from its stem and slice into strips. Set aside.
When to remove sausage casing: after cutting but before crumbling. If you are using pre-packaged chicken sausage and want it cut into half moons, you may have difficulty cutting it if you remove the casing first (you'll see mine are cut into half moons and then squished up a bit - I regretted not getting the crumbly type and tried to compensate!). If you're going to crumble your sausage, just take the casing off first. It's easier that way! Set aside.
Important note about sausage: If you are not using pre-packaged chicken sausage (which has essentially been pre-cooked), you will need to cook your sausage. In a heavy bottomed pan, remove sausage casing, crumble your sausage into a pan, and cook over medium heat until it is no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
Thinly slice your leek, chop your onion, and use a garlic press to press your garlic. Place in the bottom of a 5-quart dutch oven or other cooking pot. Add your red pepper flakes if you are using them, a pinch of salt, and olive oil. Cook on medium heat until fragrant.
Add potatoes, chicken broth, oregano and rosemary. Turn up heat to bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook until potatoes break with a fork. Use your immersion blender to blend your broth (you can transfer to a blender if you do not own an immersion blender, but it's a wonderful kitchen gadget that makes blending soups SO easy. It's also easy to wash and store. I use the KitchenAid Immersion blender and love it. My older model isn't sold on Amazon anymore, but this one, (I recommend buying one that doesn't have all the extra attachments. They really just create more clutter in your kitchen and most people tend not to remember they have them), is wonderful. Highly recommend!).
While your stock is simmering on the stove, add your kale and sausage. Cook until kale wilts and sausage is cooked through. You can simmer for as long as you'd like
Serve right away or store in your freezer for up to 6 months (leave an inch or more space in your jars if you are freezing - liquids expand when frozen!).