One of the few things I miss when winter finally gets out of my face for a few months is hearty soups. So, to celebrate (or bid adieu to) the tail end of the cold and damp, I made just such a hearty (and spicy) soup. I served it to late evening guests recently as a stodgy and substantial — but lively - counterbalance to late evening imbibing. It was very restorative the day after too! I actually served it in tea cups, which was kind of sweet and cozy, and just the right moderate portion for night-time. It’s also easier to handle than bowls when you are sprawled on couches and not seated at a table.
It is another riff on one of my favorite types of soup: a bean, a green and a sausage. This time the bean is nutty, firm garbanzo and the sausage spicy Cajun-style Andouille. The green is kale. If you are not familiar with kale, it is available pretty much year-round, another leafy-green packed with nutrients and fiber and all that good stuff. It is similar to spinach and chard when you cook it, but you have to cook it quite a bit longer for it to soften up. The advantage is that it won’t get mushy in your soup, but will retain a bit of crunchy character. The colors in this one are also really lovely!
Andouille Sausage, Kale and Garbanzo Soup
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ Cup red pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
6-8 oz andouille sausage (or other highly seasoned sausage – I like spicy, but you can use non-spicy too), in ½ inch slices
1 bunch kale, washed thoroughly, stems removed and chopped
2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½ inch squares
32 oz low sodium vegetable broth (or however much broth you have, mixed with water to make 32 oz)
1 15.5 oz can chick peas (garbanzos, ceci), drained and rinsed
2 Tbs fresh thyme or 1 Tbs dried (may be increased or decreased to your liking)
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil until liquid and fragrant, add onions, stir to coat then reduce heat and allow to soften and become translucent. Add red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened. Increase heat to medium high, add sausage slices and cook through. Stir in kale and potatoes and coat well. Add vegetable broth and additional water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a lively simmer for 15 minutes. Add garbanzos and thyme and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread/a grating of parmesan cheese/a dollop of fine extra virgin olive oil.