Well friends, the last of the leftover Holiday food has been eaten or properly tucked into the freezer. On Monday, every scrap of Christmas was stashed into the red tubs that hang out in the garage and, hopefully, any remaining sprinkles from baking cookies with the littles have been mopped up. Those vagrants, along with the glitter, just seem to find crevices in which to hide.
I must admit some mighty fine food graced the get togethers I hosted or attended. And, not all of it was the rich, decadent, over-the-top stuff that you just can’t stop eating no matter how hard you try. Needless to say though, there was plenty to keep Santa round and jolly.
I could wax on with delectable details, but we’ll get to the and then… there was soup; the totally glorious meal in a bowl that warms this girl up. And, seeing as we’re under yet another winter storm advisory, with an expected 6 to 12 inches of fresh snow, I’m seeing lots of this wonder in my future menu planning.
In my mind soup is often a lovely amalgamation of what’s in the cupboard and fridge.
Last night’s pot was an impromptu riff on a recipe I saw at bonappetit.com. Said recipe was “Healthy-ish Chickpea Soup,” with sweet Italian sausage. As I reread the recipe, I might have drifted further than I originally thought. That’s ok; it’s that lovely amalgamation, right?
Chickpea, Smoked Sausage and Kale Soup
What was on-hand
- 1 package smoked turkey kielbasa, sliced thin and on a diagonal because it looks nice
- 1 cup each diced onions, carrots and celery. I’ll often pick up a mirepoix (French for a mix of the three ingredients) at the market. It saves some chopping time if I’m making soup after work.
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup of red wine
- 2 cups of baby kale, but any type of green that is bite size will do
- Assorted seasonings that we’ll get to shortly
What I did
- A large Dutch oven was warmed and rimmed with olive oil. The mirepoix was tossed in and the vegetables cooked on medium heat for a few minutes until the onions were translucent and the carrots and celery were beginning to get soft. Next, the sausage went in to brown it slightly. I’m working on getting a lot of flavor in a short amount of cooking time, so you want to build in as much as possible.
- From here, everything else got dumped in except for the kale. It had to wait its turn. Not a bad soup start, but seasoning was needed to give this quick soup some interest. Therefore, dried spices were called in; 2 teaspoons each of granulated garlic, basil and oregano, some 21 Seasoning Salute (from Trader Joe’s), 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste (great flavor enhancer.)
- Let the pot of soup simmer for 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare chunky croutons to float in the tomatoey-wine broth. To do this thinly slice a baguette, brush the slices with olive oil, then dust with garlic and fresh cracked pepper. Toast slowly in a hot oven until crisp, turning once in the process.
- Meanwhile back at the stove, the soup is simmering away and desperately in need of something green – the kale. Add it for the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking time. It will wilt nicely in the soup. Before serving check your seasoning, specifically salt and pepper; adjust as needed.
I served the soup with a splash of balsamic vinegar, the garlic croutons and shreds of Parmesan cheese.
Happy New Year and Happy Eating, my friends!