The Soup to End All Soups (for now)

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with soup.  When I was small, I famously told my mother “I hate ‘toup’ and I don’t like ‘tew’ either”…I have yet to live that down!  But in the intervening 20-some odd years, I have learned that I do, in fact, like soup, and even stew, but I’m awfully picky.  No cream of condensed concoctions need apply, or processed food ingredients, for that matter.  I like soup, but made of whole, fresh ingredients, from scratch, with wuv.  Which means that sometimes I spend hours making the perfect stew (boeuf bourguignon, I’m looking at you!).  And sometimes I want soup, but don’t want to make soup.

But sometimes.  Sometimes, I am inspired in spite of myself!  Take last night…I didn’t really want to make soup.  I had every intention of just making sausage & potato hash for dinner, but then, some sweet potatoes snuck in, and brought carrots with them.  And the kale showed up and wanted in on the action.  And suddenly nothing sounded better than creamy, veggie studded, chorizo and kale soup.  So that’s what I made (considering I was already partway there, it wasn’t hard, and took less than 40 minutes total).  And it was filling and delicious and creamy and everything a spicy sausage soup should be!

Sausage & Kale Soup

  • 3/4 lb. fresh chorizo sausage, uncased (I prefer spicy, but mild will also do nicely)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 small red potatoes, diced (1/2″ cubes)
  • 1 garnet yam, diced (also 1/2″ cubes)
  • 4 medium carrots, diced (1/2″ cubes…see a pattern here?)
  • 4 tsp. beef bullion base
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chopped kale (bit size pieces)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add the chorizo and crumble.  Let cook 5 or 6 minutes to render fat while you chop veggies. 

Add onions and carrots to sausage and cook about 4 minutes.  Stir occasionally so nothing scorches.

Dissolve bullion base in some of the water, then add potatoes, yams, bullion, and remaining water to the pot.  Be sure veggies are amply covered by liquid, add bay leaves, and cover the pot.  Simmer for 10 minutes, till potatoes and yams are beginning to get tender. 

Add kale and stir into soup, cover the pot and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Make sure kale, potatoes, and yams are all tender and cooked to your liking; if not, cook a little more. 

When veggies are cooked, remove soup from flame.  Scoop out a cup or so of the broth and temper the cream (mix cream into the broth you just scooped out slowly so it heats up gradually and doesn’t curdle) then add tempered cream back to the main soup pot: pour slowly and stir well while adding. 

Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy with  some crusty bread.

This soup is loosely based on all the Caldo Verde recipes that have come before it in my kitchen (sausage + potato + greens + cream = soup), but this is a little bit ddifferent, and I blame the carrots and sweet potatoes for imparting little nuggets of sweet surprise that those other soups do not have.  Not that I won’t make Caldo Verde in a heartbeat, but, it’s a different soup.  And for now, this is my favorite soup.

Hmmmm…Long time no post, eh?

So hello unplanned, unavoidable blogging hiatus!  While unplanned and unavoidable, I have to admit this hiatus wasn’t entirely unforeseeable…I work in publishing, and the first 2 quarters of the year are nutso.  Every year.  So don’t expect much till July.  Oh boy, that sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it!  Well, I promise to attempt regular updates in the meantime, but it may or may not last, and you, dear reader(s?  is anybody left?!) should be warned!

Today’s fun project:  polka dot biking knickers.  Take that! Swrve.  (Seriously, I have been drooling over their women’s knickers for like half a decade, only to have them stop making them completely…so, I decided to take matters into my own hands).  I found some white and turquoise polka dot fabric (poplin with a little stretch) and set to work.  (Yes, that is quite the fabric…but it was on sale, and since this attempt was a first on several fronts, sale fabric wins).

I started with a pattern from Simplicity, and since I was between sizes by their measurements, I traced out a smaller size for the front of the pants, and the next size up for the rear.  Worked swimmingly.  It took me a bit to figure out the mental gymnastics of assembling pants (they really are harder than they look, I swear!), but luckily, I was sewing at a friend’s place, and she had valuable advice that worked out!

Once I had them mostly assembled I ran into two small hitches.  First, I discovered that the pattern called for “twill tape” as a drawstring (which was not in the brochure!).  I have to admit, I still have no idea what this is exactly, but I’m hoping to swing by the fabric store on my way home tonight and find out!.

Second, I discovered that they were really flappy pantlegs.  Not ideal for biking.  Also they were way long for “knickes”, but that I knew how to remedy.  The flappiness annoyed me because first, the envelope drawing didn’t look like wide-leg capris, and second, um, well, I don’t know how to tailor things, and this may or may not be the first pair of pants I’ve ever made.  A bit daunting, those two things.  I ended up just putting them on and pinning the inseam along my legs to get the general shape, then took them off and drew a straight line from just below the knee to the bottom of the pants.  I’m about 90% happy with it.  It worked, and they turned out even and will work fine, but there’s some odd boxiness at the knees when I’m standing up that kind of bugs me.  But!  I wanted to make sure there was enough room to flex the knees while pedaling, and there is that, so they will work great.  (Forgive the crappy iphone photo…no laptop means I’m blogging from my phone…joy!)

I’m kind of excited to wear them out (and I already have ideas for the next version, which will likely have some minor tweaks like hip pockets, better tailoring around the knees/calves, a knit/elastic waistband, and a higher rise in the back…this pair is a bit low rise in that department).  But not bad for my first attempt!  And seriously, they are super fun and like nothing else in my wardrobe at all!