Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sausage and Kale Soup

A week or so ago I was on Facebook and one of my favorite bloggers, Arsy from Rubies and Radishes, asked her followers, "What is your favorite fall soup?" I immediately responded with "Sausage and Kale soup, topped with hot sauce." She replied, "Recipe?" and I realized that I had to blog this recipe, because when kale is in season, I make this soup at least once a week.

I have found an awesome stand at one of the farmer's markets that I shop at in Chesapeake, that is run by a group of women who call themselves "Farmchicksproduce." They have wonderful eggs for only $3 a dozen, and tons of seasonal produce. They caught my eye because they are the busiest booth at this particular market. They have recently been selling kale, and the first week I only bought one pound. The next week I went ahead and bought two pounds. This week I bought three. That's how much I love kale! I know that dark leafy greens are incredibly good for us, but I am not a big fan of spinach. It's just not my thing. I love that kale is more tender than collard greens and less bitter than mustard greens, but still earthy and leafy. To me, greens just HAVE to be paired with pork in some way. It's simply just the way it must be in the South, and since I was raised in the South, that's the way I do it!

So here it is, the most simple, but satisfying fall soup recipe you will find. You can use any kind of sausage you want, and in fact, I've made it with everything from chorizo, to hot italian, to smoked polish, to keilbasa, to chicken sausage. It doesn't have to be a hard sausage either -- you can certainly use loose sausage too. Just make sure that the sausage is from a good source, that is free of chemicals and added sugar, and preferably from a pasture raised source that you trust.

Sausage and Kale Soup


1 pound of Sausage, any variety
1 pound of Kale, ribs removed and torn into medium pieces
1 large yellow onion, small diced
2 cups small diced carrots
1 cup small diced celery
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups of bone broth/stock, preferably homemade (you can use chicken, pork or beef)
2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease or lard
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot Sauce, or a dash of vinegar, to serve (if desired)


1. In a large, heavy bottomed soup pot (I used my trusty Le Creuset) brown the sausage. If you are using hard sausage, dice it into bite size pieces before browning. If you are using loose sausage, simply brown and break up like you would hamburger meat. My sausage was fatty enough that I did not need to add any fat to the pan, but if you use chicken sausage, you will need to add some bacon fat or lard. When the sausage is browned and cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl to add back in later. Leave the grease in the pan.
2. In the sausage grease, add the onions, carrots and celery, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let these veggies cook for at least 15 minutes to soften and develop their flavor.
3. After the veggies have softened, add 1 more tablespoon of bacon grease or lard, and then add in the pound of kale,the minced garlic, and another large pinch of salt. Use tongs to toss the kale and veggies around so that everything is evenly distributed, and the kale is coated in the fat. The kale will be huge at first and seem like it won't all fit, but it will wilt down. Cook for 4-6 minutes until you can smell and see that the garlic has cooked, and the greens are wilted.
4. Add the sausage back into the pot, toss to evenly distribute, and add in all of your stock. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes, and taste to check for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary.
5. Serve with a good dash of hot sauce on top, if hot sauce is your thing. I think it goes especially great with the greens because it adds a vinegary, spicy element that is perfect with sausage and kale. If you can't handle hot sauce because you are staying away from nightshades, I still suggest adding a dash of vinegar to the soup to still achieve that tang that is so great with greens.

*As a side note, look for hot sauces that have simple ingredients, with no added xantham gum or guar gum as thickeners. Both of those gums are known to cause intestinal issues, and they are also often made from GMO corn. Ew. Let's stay away from that stuff, mmkay? I have recently been digging Melinda's Habenero Hot Sauce.  Their ingredients are clean, and read like a recipe, rather than a science experiment, which makes me happy!  

So Happy Fall everyone! Special thanks to FarmChicksProduce for your hard work, and also to Arsy for the Facebook and Instagram love you have been showing me lately! Much love and appreciation to you both.

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