Saturday, February 05, 2011

Kale and Potato Soup with Red Chili

This recipe came from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison. A wonderful book that all veggie lovers should own. The recipes in this book are from the Greens Restaurant when it was in it's hey-day. We usually make a double recipe.

The Stock
The ingredients of this soup supply plenty of flavor, so use water to prepare a simple stock using the stems of the kale.

The Soup
1 bunch kale
3 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, diced into ½ inch squares
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 small dried red chili, seeded and chopped, or ½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed and diced into ½ inch cubes
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)
7 cups water or stock
Creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)

Update: Replaced onion with 2 thinly sliced leeks, sweated down in 2Tbs butter - reduced olive oil to 2 Tbs; replaced kale with collards. added 1/2 cube bouillon. Oh my, this was the BEST!

Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears cut the ruffled kale leaves off their stems, which are very tough and take a long time to cook. Cut the leaves into pieces roughly 2 inches square, wash them well, and set them aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic, chili, bay leaf, and salt, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes and the yeast, if using, plus a cup of the water or stock. Stir together, cover, and cook slowly for 5 minutes.

Add the kale, cover, and steam until it is wilted, stirring occasionally. Pour in the rest of the water or stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer slowly, covered, until the potatoes are quite soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the potatoes by pressing them against the sides of the pot, or puree a cup or two of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. This will make a unifying background for the other elements.

Taste the soup for salt and add a generous grinding of black pepper. If possible, let the soup sit for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to further develop. If desired add a spoonful of creme fraiche or sour cream. Serves 4 - 6.

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