Sunday, February 8, 2009

At Market...Black Kale

I had a lovely Sunday morning; NY and Los Angeles Times newspapers, hot coffee with steamed milk, pancakes and bacon. Then I headed out to the farmers market to collect my week's worth of fresh produce. There were apples, onions, garlic, scallions, navel oranges, eggs, more of that delicious Japanese Bok Choy, arugula, strawberries, potatoes, mushrooms!! (which I will post about tomorrow) and black kale. I had just read a recipe in the NY Times Magazine for potato soup with sausage and "fried" kale that sounded like the perfect meal for a cold blustery day, and luckily I was able to find everything I needed at the market.

After a long crazy day (which unfortunately included a trip to the ER--nothing serious...just a minor head wound), I did finally make it to the kitchen to make my own version of the soup, complete with fresh Portuguese sausage (that was very spicy), and some slivers of baked crispy black kale. After fighting with my stick blender (which kept losing its battery charge) I ended up pureeing the soup in the regular blender, which takes some time but is a fine alternative if you don't have one (or yours is on the fritz). But by the time the soup was finally finished, I collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, not even able to eat the very soup I had been so excited about earlier in the day. My husband swore it was good...and then promptly froze the leftovers, so I will have to wait until another rainy day to try it. I did, however, find the crispy black kale strips strangely addictive, and I stood by the pan, for quite some time snacking on them. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the finished soup, but this post is really about the kale anyway. You must make the kale strips if nothing else...

Potato Sausage Soup with Crispy Kale

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 clove of garlic, minced or grated
2 links of Portuguese sausage (raw, removed from casing)
2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 C chicken stock
olive oil

Pour about 2 T of olive oil in a large stockpot and heat over medium flame. Add sausage and brown for about 3 minutes, or until some fat is rendered, but sausage is not fully cooked. Toss in onion and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes or until translucent. Add potatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes then puree with a stick blender or in batches in a blender. Drizzle with olive oil and top with crispy kale.

Crispy Kale

Take about 6 washed kale leaves (stems removed) and stack together. Gently roll up leaves (to make a cigar shape) and slice thinly with a sharp knife, making ribbons about 1/8 of an inch thick. Toss with olive oil (about 2 t) and a pinch of salt and roast on a baking sheet (spread in a single layer) in a preheated oven (350) for about 10 minutes, or until crisp.

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