By Michele Hunter
My family loves kale–an unusual green to love, but we do, and we’re always looking for new, tasty ways to prepare it. Sautéing it until tender in a little olive oil with a clove or two of garlic and chopped onion, salt, and pepper to taste is always a simple and delicious side. To save on prep time, I usually buy the pre-washed and chopped kale in large bags, so the dish takes only about 20 minutes start to finish.
With the weather turning cool, kale soup starts to sound appealing and I started looking for recipes. Eat Greens: Seasonal Recipes to Enjoy in Abundance by Barbara Scott-Goodman and Liz Trovato had some interesting recipes, and we decided to try the “Kale, Sweet Potato, and Orzo Soup” I’ve given below. I followed the recipe as written except for adding 2 cloves of finely minced garlic and I added the orzo to the soup along with everything else because cooking it separately seemed unnecessary. The results were a very simple and enjoyable soup. About the time the soup was done, our college-age, amateur-chef son showed up and declared that the soup “needed something” and started adding ingredients. I’m still not sure what he added, but the results were very good, which served to illustrate the authors’ comment that this is a good soup to “play” with. The soup is very plain and easy to make your own by adding your favorite ingredients. Precooked smoked sausage would be wonderful; I’ve also seen kale soup recipes calling for white beans. These could be in addition to or instead of the pasta. Here’s the recipe as it appears in the cookbook, experiment and have fun!
Kale, Sweet Potato, and Orzo Soup
makes 8-10 servings
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
½ pound kale, tough end trimmed, chopped into ½ inch pieces (I used bagged pre-washed kale)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
½ cup orzo or small pasta
freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
1. Put the broth, water, kale, and sweet potatoes in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until just tender. Drain and set aside. (I added the pasta directly to the soup about 5-10 minutes into the cooking time.)
3. Add the orzo and pepper to taste to the soup pot. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese, if desired.