What to Eat This Week: Kale, Cannellini and Chorizo Soup
A hearty soup is the best antidote I can think of for sub-zero weather. This one, full of the strong flavours of lots of garlic, Parmesan, spicy sausage and nutritional superhero kale, will warm you to your bones, whether you’re skiing into a cabin in Gatineau Park or merely weary after work.
I took my favourite parts of several similar recipes from Gourmet magazine, Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes, and a recipe from Calgary’s Charcut Roast House that’s in The Soup Sisters Cookbook. Since the most common complaint about this soup on Epicurious is that the broth is too thin, I included the Joy of Cooking’s method for Portuguese Caldo Verde, mashing potatoes right into the broth. It’s still not a thick broth, but it has some body.
The spicy chorizo sausage makes the soup and we have several superb local sources. (This soup uses the fresh kind of uncooked chorizo sausage in casings, but the dry cured kind would work too.)
You can get Pork of Yore Mexican and Spanish chorizo sausages, made near Douglas, at the Ottawa and Carp farmers’ markets in summer and year round at the field house at the Parkdale Market (open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in winter).
Find Seed to Sausage fresh chorizo sausages, made near Sharbot Lake, at the Glebe Metro, Ottawa Bagelshop and Thyme & Again. And Westboro’s Piggy Market makes its own Mexican-style fresh chorizo sausages every week.
Find step-by-step photos for making this soup, plus a printable PDF of the recipe, at ottawacitizen.com/ottawadish.Preparation time: about 40 minutes (but even better after sitting for a day)
Makes: 6-8 servings
3 tbsp (50 mL) olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
2 cups (500 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) white wine
14-ounce (398 mL) canned diced tomatoes with their juice
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (about 2 inches by 3 inches/5-by-8 cm)
6 springs fresh thyme
2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 links fresh chorizo sausage (a little less than a pound/400 g) 14-ounce (398 mL) can cannellini (white Italian kidney) beans, drained and well rinsed, or about 2 cups (500 mL) cooked dried beans, drained
2 bunches kale (about 1 lb/450 g), preferably the dark lacinato type, washed and with centre ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or until garlic starts turning golden and the mixture starts to feel tacky on the bottom of the pot when you stir it with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the chicken stock, water, wine, tomatoes, Parmesan rind, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Add salt to taste (none if the stock is store-bought and salty to as much as 2 tbsp/25 mL if it is not.) Bring to a boil, then add the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove the pot from the heat. Using a potato masher, crush the potatoes right in the pot to give the soup a thicker texture. (If the Parmesan rind gets caught under the masher, set aside it until you’re through mashing, then return to the broth. If the thyme stems have lost their leaves and get tangled in the masher, remove them from the soup and discard.) Return the pot to simmer.
4. Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet, squeeze or scrape the sausage filling from the casings and sauté until cooked through and browned. Add sausage meat to the soup pot. Pour 1 cup of the soup into the skillet. Scrape up the browned bits and return the liquid and browned bits to the soup.
5. Add the beans and kale by handfuls (adding more as it wilts down) and simmer another 5 to 15 minutes or until kale is tender.
6. Add balsamic vinegar and more salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle into warm bowls and top with a grinding of Parmesan cheese.