Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup

    It's getting cool.  Sooner than I want, the garden is going to need to come down.  Most of my plants are starting to look a little on the sad side, but do you know what's not suffering?  The kale.  It is taking over:
    Those greener leaves to the left of it, that's rhubarb.  I didn't know ANYTHING could choke out rhubarb.  But it's succeeding.

    I'm not sure why I planted kale.  I have this restraint problem when I'm in the garden store aisle with all the seeds.  The pictures look so nice.  There are all these fancy things that I've never tried, or never tried to grow, or just really like.  I usually buy 12 kinds of lettuce and get home and go - wait - my back yard is only 144 square feet!  I literally only planted two rows of kale in what was probably a 1 foot square.  I've been looking into canning it, but it appears you need a pressure canner to preserve them because they're low acidity.  I wonder if you can use a pressure cooker as a pressure canner... the interwebs say yes, but that it will take forever!

    I did find that kale freezes well, as long as you blanch it first.  I might do that, but I think I'm more likely to make a bunch of soup and freeze that for lunches.  Either way, I'm using up a lot of room in my tiny, tiny freezer that I don't have.  One of these days I'm going to get a chest freezer (and a food mill, and a pressure canner, and one of these, blah, blah, blah...)

    So, to prepare for the mass of food that will be going INTO my freezer, I'm trying to eat up everything that's in there now to get it OUT of my freezer.  I guess that makes sense, but it's still strange.  One thing I have a lot of in my freezer is Andouille sausage.  It's local (Usingers), but I have about 4-5 packs and I really don't need them.  They're leftover from a party I had over the summer for which I bought WAY too much food. 

    So I thought I would use some of both of these things up.  This is not a "true" anything, but it's pretty good and that's all that matters in my mind.  It was warm and filling, and will go well on a cold winter day with a piece of crusty bread.  I did freeze a batch and took it to work with me for lunch, and it heats up exceptionally well after having been frozen, so I will absolutely be making more for lunches and quick dinners.  This recipe was modified from about 6 recipes I found on the internet.  I will probably double it the next time around, so I will have a lot extra to save in the freezer.  I would say this makes about 6 meals total.

    Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
    • 1 large onion, chopped (L)
    • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped (L)
    • 6 ounces thinly sliced Linguica (Spicy Portuguese Sausage), or other spicy sausage - like Andouille! (L)
    • 3.5 cups chicken broth (L)
    • 4 cups water (L)
    • 1/2 cup diced potatoes (L)
    • 1 pound fresh kale, washed (L*)
    • 1 tbs fresh chopped oregano (L*)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

    Cut the center veins out of the kale and discard (I didn't do this, and they never got un-chewy!).  Slice the remaining leaves into strips about one inch wide.

    In a large skillet, heat olive oil, and add onions.  Saute for about 5 minutes, or until onions start to soften.  Add garlic and sausage, and continue to saute for 5 more minutes.  Add potatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook 5 more minutes, then add broth, water, and kale, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, and allow to cook - uncovered - for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.  In the last 5 minutes, add oregano, and season again to taste with salt and pepper.

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