Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kale, Potato, and Chorizo Soup for long, wet days

The research center that I work for is putting together a conference on the Green Economy tomorrow. It has ballooned into a relatively big deal: the Obama folks have latched onto it as a symbol and are sending out a Deputy Assistant Secretary from the US Department of Commerce. Suddenly there's going to be press, TV. The facility can seat only ~180 people, and we already have 60 folks on the waitlist. Ack! Exciting, but I started having nightmare visions of having to play bouncer at the registration desk. (For readers who know me only via internet, I don't look very intimidating. Loud, but small.).

Then it started raining. Hard. As in big hunks o' hail yesterday. Umbrellas violently turning inside out every couple minutes because the winds keep changing direction. Dead umbrellas littering the pubic trash cans. The sewers are getting backed up. People get stuck indoors, buses are overcrowded and running extremely late, meetings canceled. I got an inordinate amount of work done yesterday, simply because I got trapped at my research center and couldn't leave.

We have hopes, high hopes, that our waitlist will magically vanish. Because who wants to wade their way to downtown Berkeley, either squished on a late bus or having paid a left kidney for parking, just to wait around in a lobby for an hour before being informed by an innocuous graduate student that, sorry, thanks for coming, but we're over subscribed and you should turn around and go home? And don't forget your inside-out umbrella, sir.

So, for all of my waitlistees and anyone else out there whose plans have been thwarted by the rain, I offer a bowl of warm soup.

Apparently this Portuguese Kale, Potato, and Chorizo soup was very popular last year: both Bon Appetit and Food & Wine published recipes within a month of each other. We crossed the two recipes, used our secret makes-everything-tastier ingredient (Elgin sausage), supplemented canned chicken stock with some leftover homemade stock, and the results were really quite impressive. The soup's broth made the dish: hearty, with a depth of flavor that usually comes only from multiple hours of slow simmering. The potatoes add creaminess, the chorizo adds heartiness, the greens add texture but no bitterness. Think comfort. And it's good for you.

Do would prefer the potatoes a little more solid, so that they don't quite melt in your mouth. DNA would prefer a little more sausage, so that you get some in almost every bite. I love it just the way it is.

Portuguese Kale, Potato, and Chorizo soup
(serves 6)
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 lb chorizo or other very flavorful sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 lb russet potatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 lb Kale, stemmed, leaves thinly sliced (Neen: For color, use a combination of Kale and Red Chard)
8 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a 5 quart heavy pot over medium high, and brown your sausage (2-3min). Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. In the remaining fat, cook onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and slightly browned. Add paprika and Kale, cook 1 min till bright green. Add pototoes and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Simmer covered until the potatoes are tender but not disintegrating (~15-20min). Add sausage, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


kat said...

This is a winter favorite in our house though we often use the hard Spanish style chorizo

katiez said...

I've had this in Portugal - and I must say that your version looks better.... more 'chunks'. When we lived in Ireland, there were many, many different kinds of potatoes - I learned. The first I bought went into a stew. When the stew was done it was lovely and thick, but not a potato in sight!

Tastes of Portugal said...

I love Kale soup especially with slices of spicy chourico (Portuguese sausage). The sausage gives the soup a very nice kick.