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Kale and Sausage Soup

  One evening after supper, a friend called and asked what I had made for dinner.  When I told her I had made kale soup, she responded, "Kale??  Who the heck eats kale?  Isn't that the stuff you stick in planters for fall decoration?"

  I can quite honestly say that I prefer my kale in a bowl - especially when used in this recipe.  This soup is not only good for you, but it's easy to make and one of our favourites.  I've modified it over the years and like to add our hot Italian sausage (available in our market) in the winter months.  It can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the sausage and using vegetable stock instead of chicken.  If you're able to use your own homemade stock, even better.

  Nutritional Facts:  Kale is rich in vitamens A, B6, C and K and is a good source of fibre, calcium, and potassium.  Kale is one of the most nutritionally complete veggies you can eat.  Why would you put it in a planter?

  Ingredients:

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

3 lg onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bay leaves, preferably fresh

10 cups chicken stock (sub. vegetable stock if vegetarian)

1 cup tomatoes and juice, tomatoes broken up

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 lb kale (8-10 cups), well washed, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped

3 med potatoes, cubed into bite sized pieces (I scrub them and leave the skins on, but peel if you like)

2 cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 

2 tbsp butter

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 lb Italian hot sausage, cut into 1" pieces (I like to remove the casings)

hot sauce (Red Hot, Tabasco or homemade) to taste

Method

  If adding sausage, heat a small amount of oil in a large stock pot and cook the sausage pieces, browning the outside.  Remove sausage from pot and set aside on a separate plate.  Heat the olive oil in the pot and add the onion, garlic and bay leaves.  Cook stirring often until onions are softened but not browned, about 10 min.  Add the stock, tomatoes, paprika, cayenne, salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bring to a boiling add the potatoes and kale.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender.  Add the kidney beans and cook until the potatoes are tender.  Remove the bay leaves.  Measure 1 cup of the soup out and puree in a blender.  Add the pureed soup, sausage and 2 tbsps of butter back to the soup.  Simmer for a few minutes to blend flavours.  If you like a little heat to your soup, add hot sauce to taste.