“Spring must strike again against the shield of winter…” Undertow, Genesis
There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of hot soup to sooth the shivering soul on a chilly winter evening. And there’s nothing quite so fortifying as a hearty soup that features the healthy goodness of fresh kale. These soups may not banish winter altogether, but they’ll certainly strike a blow for the return to sunshine and pleasant weather. As an added bonus, they’re full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other good things.
Minestrone is a more or less generic term for a thick, hearty soup of Italian origin. This version features white beans (cannellini). The beans are a staple ingredient, fundamental to virtually any minestrone; white beans are typical accompaniments to many traditional dishes of northern Italian provenance.
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 1-2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk organic celery, rinsed and chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 28-ounce can imported San Marzano Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 6 cups chicken broth (vegans may substitute vegetable broth)
- 1/2 lb. kale; carefully washed to remove trapped sand, rinsed, stemmed, and chopped
- 1 15-oz. can cannellini (aka white kidney beans or Great Northern beans); thoroughly rinsed, drained.
- 1 medium potato; russet or Yukon gold, peeled and diced
- Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- Fresh thyme and/or parsley, several stalks
- 1tsp. dried oregano, crushed
- 1 bay laurel leaf
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- Freshly grated imported parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large cast iron Dutch oven, heat olive oil over med-low heat until it shimmers. Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté for several minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic, continue stirring for about 40 seconds. Add canned tomatoes, with their juice. Stir in tomato paste. Allow tomatoes to cook down somewhat, for about 20 minutes. Crush whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon.
Add broth, oregano, chopped potato, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and add parsley stalk(s), thyme stalk, bay leaf, and parmesan rind. (These will be removed and discarded later, before serving). Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, covered.
Add chopped kale and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes. Stir in beans, and allow to heat through. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve with parmesan on side. Serves 4.
And just like that, you will have struck a blow against the frosty shield of winter!
Rustic Kale and Potato Soup
- 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium russet potato, rinsed, problem spots peeled, otherwise unpeeled; diced
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, rinsed, problem spots peeled, otherwise unpeeled; diced
- 2 garlic cloves; peeled and minced
- 1/2-1 tsp. salt
- 4 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
- One whole bunch kale; about 12 leaves (any variety, preferably Tuscan or lacinato)
- Lemon zest, plus 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 large eggs
- Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
In a large cast iron Dutch oven, sauté onion in a splash of olive oil, over med-low heat, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and stir, about 30 seconds. Add next four ingredients (through stock/water). Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Turn down heat and let simmer.
While soup simmers, thoroughly rinse and dry kale. Remove ribs, and coarsely chop leaves, or cut into ribbons. Add kale to simmering soup. Cover and continue cooking. Allow to cook an additional 10 minutes or so. Test potatoes for doneness. Kale should be tender, without being stringy. Add lemon juice and zest, and adjust seasoning with freshly ground salt and black pepper.
Crack eggs into a ramekin and slip into soup, leaving yolks intact. Ladle some hot soup over top of eggs and allow to cook, covered, an additional 4-5 minutes. Soup is done when egg whites are set, but yolk remains somewhat runny. Ladle carefully into two or three bowls, allocating one egg per bowl, and serve with baguette. Garnish with grated parmesan and/or extra virgin olive oil. Serves 2-3.
Enjoy the rustic goodness of this fresh kale winter soup.
Smooth-Yet-Rustic Kale and Potato Soup
Similar to the soup featured above, this version uses an immersion blender to achieve a uniform velvety texture and cheery spring-green color.
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 medium Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 6-8 cups young kale, rinsed, deveined, and chopped
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Whole nutmeg
- Splash fresh lemon juice
- Sour cream for garnish
In a large (preferably cast iron) Dutch oven or soup pot, add olive oil and butter. Turn on medium low heat. Add garlic, onions, and potatoes and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes. As soon as onions begin to soften, add broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down to simmer. Potatoes should soften within 15 minutes.
Add kale and allow to continue cooking on low, about 3-4 minutes. As soon as kale is tender, but not overcooked, remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat. Using handheld immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Adjust seasoning by adding a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, a spritz of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve hot, with sour cream garnish on the side.
Slow Quinoa/Kale Soup
There’s nothing more satisfying than coming home to the savory scent of dinner waiting for you in the slow cooker. Here’s a hearty, uplifting soup for cold winter nights that’s ready when you are.
- 1 cup quinoa, any color, thoroughly rinsed
- 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or Great Northern white beans, rinsed thoroughly
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp. dried savory
- 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 2 Bay laurel leaves
- 1 Quart chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
- 1 Bunch kale, rinsed, center veins removed, and chopped
Coat a 6-quart slow cooker liner with vegetable non-stick spray. Add quinoa, tomatoes with juice, and remaining ingredients, excluding kale. Stir to mix, cover, and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours. Add kale and allow to wilt, before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves up to 8.