2012-11-25_19-04-44_976

A couple of months back I had lunch at Au Bon Pain and had their Portuguese Kale Soup. I’d never even heard of it before but the description listed chorizo, potatoes, and kale so I had to try it. It was delicious! Spicy and all-around flavorful. I couldn’t stop thinking about it but I couldn’t find a recipe that was how I remember the soup. I decided to recreate it.

Here’s what I knew was in the recipe. Chorizo, carrots, red potatoes, kidney beans, and kale. Digging around on the Internet I decided that chicken broth and diced tomatoes would be the base of the soup. I liked fresh garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for the seasonings. I also decided to add a little sweet onion too.

I got about a pound and a quarter of chorizo. I took each link and sliced it in half lengthwise. This allowed me to easily remove the casing. I cut each half in half then those halves in half and ended up with 16 little bits of sausage which I rolled into little meatballs. They’re too big, by the way. Cut those puppies in half, you’ll basically be getting 32 little meatballs out of each sausage link.

Working in batches, brown the meatballs over medium heat in hot oil (olive or canola are my favorites), moving the browned ones to a plate. When your last batch is almost done, put all the sausage back in your pot and add 1 cup of diced sweet onion and 4-6 cloves of minced garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onions are done.

Take 2 large red potatoes and dice them. I don’t peel my potatoes. I think you lose a lot of nutrients that way. Anyway. Stir the diced potatoes into the pot with the sausage and onion mixture. Next add two cans of drained dark red kidney beans and half of a 10-oz. bag of carrot matchsticks. If your store doesn’t sell this, make the smallest carrot sticks you safely can.

Pour in three quarts of chicken broth (or stock if you like) and two undrained 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add a couple of bay leaves while you’re at it. Now for the kale. You want 7 cups of chopped kale (remove the stem too or it’ll be bitter). It sounds like a lot. It looks like a lot. But as it starts to cook down it works out.

Bring the pot to a boil then pull the heat back and simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender. It took about 30 minutes for me but I had left the potatoes too large. Make sure to keep tasting the broth to make sure your seasonings are good to go.

When the potatoes are tender take the pot off the heat. Stir in 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley (I used flat). Serve up, keeping in mind that this is a pretty filling soup. I read somewhere that you can garish this with fresh mint (chiffonade the leaves) but I was tired at this point so we skipped it. I served this with a sliced up French baguette. I gotta have bread to dip into my soup!

So. Other than the chorizo and potatoes being too big…I NAILED this recipe. It was spicy and flavorful and the kale stayed a little crispy. I can’t wait for a cold snowy night because this will be PERFECT.

The recipe:
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds chorizo sausage, casing removed, diced, rolled into meatballs (try for 32 meatballs per link)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 (10 oz.) bag carrot matchsticks
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 quarts of chicken broth or stock
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 7 cups kale, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dried thyme (to taste)
  • Smoked paprika (to taste)
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 6 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh mint (optional)
  • Small loaf of crusty bread

Directions

In batches, brown the meatballs in hot oil over medium heat moving browned ones to a plate. When the last batch is almost done add back the meatballs (and any juices) then add the onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Stir in potatoes and kidney beans. Stir in the carrots. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, dried thyme leaves, crushed red peppers, and smoked paprika (all to taste) then the kale. Bring to a full boil then turn back the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and skim off any fat. Stir in the parsley. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the fresh mint, if you decide to. Serve with crusty bread.

{November 25, 2012}