A soup for right now

Posted by Lisa on September 30, 2011
autumn, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, potatoes, recipes

No, it’s not time to stoke the woodstove and dig up the scarves and wool socks just yet. But there’s no denying autumn’s gentle arrival. The first of the leaves are turning, the days are growing shorter, and it seems all of us who live and work here have outlasted the gnats and mosquitoes (a close battle till the bitter blessed end). Most days recently are real stunners: we wake and leap right into slippers as we put the coffee pot on, but as soon as the sun is up we’re down to shirtsleeves. But as the sun sinks below the horizon, it’s chilly again, and fast.  And when that happens, all I can think is: SOUP.

What a pleasure, then, that fall vegetables taste so good this way.

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Hearty Potato Soup with Kale
adapted from Simply in Season

This hearty soup is just the thing for these early autumn nights.  Slurp it with a big hunk of crusty bread or alongside a fresh fall salad.  A mug of warmed cider is optional but highly recommended.  You can get most of what you need right out of your CSA share or off our market table, and you can find the rest at market too.  It’s a soup for right now.

As with most soups, you’ve got a lot of wiggle room here.  You could use spinach instead of kale – but we’re not growing spinach right now!  Use an onion or a leek.  Water, vegetable broth, and chicken broth all work great here.  Add more potatoes for a really thick soup.  Blend completely, before or after adding the kale, if you like a really smooth soup.  Add extra garlic if you want!  You get the idea.

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, or 1 leek, roots and toughest greens removed, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large potatoes or 4-5 smaller potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs), diced
5 cups water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth
1/2-3/4 lb kale, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
black pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter or warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, and then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.  Add the potatoes and enough water or broth to cover by an inch or so – probably about half the broth.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft.  When the potatoes are almost done, warm the remaining water or stock in a separate pot.

Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until it thickens but some chunks of potato remain – or, ladle out about half the vegetables and set aside, pureé the rest of the vegetables and the cooking liquid in a blender or food processor, and then return everything to the pot. Add the kale and the remaining (and now warmed) water or stock and cook until the kale is soft.  Add salt and pepper.  Taste to see if you need to adjust any seasonings, and serve!

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