Creamier Potato, Sausage and Kale Soup

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)
Sausage and Kale soupFinished kale soup is not so pretty, but delicious…

Sausage and Kale soup 2
Since we planned to have our St. Patrick’s Day dinner over the weekend, I had a pretty lazy day of cooking the previous day so anything was possible with a bin of fresh vegetables. Green kale and spinach dominated and with some spicy sausages stashed away in the freezer a hearty bowl of kale and sausage came together pretty quickly, so easy to just toss together in the slow cooker and simmer for a few hours and then just add in torn or chopped kale the last 30 or so minutes.  As with many recipes including Ellie Krieger’s they call for chicken broth, but I switched it out with vegetable broth and added some wonderful country sausage links that my friend drops off from time to time.

I always make a version of sausage and kale soup using pretty basic soup ingredients and today another veggie bin clean out offered, a few leeks, carrots, celery, onions and several fresh herbs. The best thing that I do is to divide the soup into two batches before tossing in the kale, one for the freezer for future lunches and dinners, but before I do that I’ll add 2 russet potatoes, peeled and halve to cook in the soup for an hour or until tender.  I then remove them from the slow cooker to a smaller pot (just enough soup for three bowls), mash with a bit of 1/2+1/2, pepper and whisk in about a 1 1/2 cups of the soup broth…all this for a creamier version, but feel free to add the potato mash back to the slow cooker after cooking down the kale until wilted.

A couple other basic suggestions is to add halved small red or yellow potatoes to cook in the broth cooking until tender another suggestion is to cook the kale until just tender.  Try your hand at adding other ingredients including ditilini pasta make it your own.  Serve in big soup bowls with a loaf of crusty bread and a good red wine.

You can follow Ellie’s recipe or any other recipe, but always add a chunk of parmesan cheese rind it adds so much flavor!

Ellie’s recipe – hugely adapted — link below

SERVINGS 4 
15 ounces cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, (I didn’t use beans as Ellie suggests, but if you do:  In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.)
2 peeled russet potatoes, halved or several small potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 large onion, diced, about 1 cup
3 small leeks, cleaned, halved and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 carrots, diced, about 1/2 cup
2 stalks celery, diced, about 1/2 cup
1 small zucchini, peeled, diced, about 1 1/2 cups  (I didn’t add zucchini)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leave, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped, substitute 3/4 teaspoon dried
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 piece of parmesan rind
6 cups vegetable broth
14 1⁄2 ounces diced tomatoes, can
2-3 big handsful chopped kale 
1⁄3 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)garnish with finely chopped bits of kale.
*Optional sausage links 
sautéed or simmered in white wine before adding to slow cooker.  

One note here:  I used the Ninja cooker today so that I could sauté on stove top setting and then turn on slow cooker.

To your slow cooker add EVOO and all of the chopped veggies and herbs, sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients (including par cooked sausages) and set cooker to low for 4 hours or on high for 3.  You can fish out the potatoes and mash or not.  I thicken with the mashed potatoes, but Ellie adds the mashed and whole beans cooking along with kale or spinach until the greens are wilted.  Serve with extra cheese.

http://www.food.com/recipe/terrific-tuscan-vegetable-soup-ellie-krieger-475171