Holy smokes, it is December already! We can no longer sing the Tom Waits song “November” really loudly while walking home from the train station. I guess we have to replace it with holiday songs and comments about people’s decorations. I really want to decorate our tiny front balcony all festive-like, and I am scoping out ideas. Nothing says holiday cheer like fighting with string lights in 30 degree weather.
And you know what says winter more than anything else? Soup (and stew). Any hot liquidy meal, be it broth-based, gravy-based or puree-based. This is the season for it. One of our favorite soups, which uses up lots of vegetables and is wholesome and filling, is Sausage-Kale Soup.
I would love to give the recipe for this, but I can only give you a guideline. Like minestrones and vegetable soups of old, this is a dump soup. Most things taste good in it, and it is really easy to make. A staple of weekday nights and CSA induced hunger, this is as homey a food as we get.
Sausage Kale Soup with Mixed Vegetables
- Sausage, hot or sweet, Italian or not, meat based or not, in your desired amount (we used about 1/3lb)
- 2 medium onions (or a mixture of onion and leek)
- chopped garlic to taste
- 3 chopped carrots
- 2 chopped potatoes
- 1/2 chopped celariac
- 1 bunch chopped kale
- 1 cup canned tomato
- broth or water and bullion
- splash of olive oil
- some sharp cheese for garnish
- Cook the sausage, onions and garlic in hot olive oil until they begin to brown.
- Add the carrots, potato and celariac, cook until they begin to brown.
- Add the tomatoes and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add broth/water to bring the soup to the desired soupy consistency.
- When everything is nearly done, remove the sausage and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add back to pot with the chopped kale.
- When kale and sausage are hot and cooked, serve with shredded sharp cheese (parmesan, romano, Chase Hill Italian Grace or Naragansett Farm Atwell’s Gold). A slice of bread would also be nice.
Note: Feel free to add to or replace the carrot and potato with parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, etc., but start in small amounts to get a taste for it. Beets really don’t work. You can also add spinach, chard, or turnip greens in addition too or in replacement of the kale. Add more tomato, less tomato, pasta, different meat, the list can go on. It is a great “garbage” soup of sorts.
Lest I forget the rest of our meal, we started off with a snack of aboboro squash in a really tasty dressing.
Aboboro is a South American squash family, but we can’t determine a specific name for each variety. Aboboro seems to be a catch-all name for hard winter squash in South America, much like Kabocha. Oh, the confusion. Either way, the squash was sweet, moist and had a nice grain to it. It would mash up really well, and could be used like pumpkin or butternut squash. The texture was similar to an acorn, and nearly as sweet.
The dressing on this was really superb.
But the most delectable part of the evening was dessert. We used the last of our peanut butter with some roasted delicata squash from Stillman’s Farm, topped with Taza chocolate, to make a weirdly fantastic local hippy peanut butter cup.
Oh goodness, yum. I encourage you to try a little peanut butter on a sweet potato or roasted winter squash. It is surprisingly good, but may take getting used to. Use good squash and good nut butter and you shouldn’t go wrong.
Best of Thursdays to everyone!