Even with the snow and frost we’ve had, the kale in my garden seems to have come through it all unscathed. Several times I’ve used the leaves to make soup and I find that I really like it a lot.
I brought this bunch in from the garden just today, and happened to pass by some parsley and rosemary on my way.
We happened to have some elk short ribs in the freezer, and I’ve found that these make a wonderful addition to the soup, both as stock and bits of meat. You could use beef or any other meat too, but you may have to cut off some of the fat. Chicken drumsticks make a great soup too. Once they have simmered for a while, the meat falls off the bones and can be cut into pieces small enough to fit onto a soup spoon.
To make the soup, I sautee onions, garlic, and whatever else I am in the mood for. I’ve added chopped ginger root when I wanted something with a bit of zip. I can’t tell you what I use for herbs and spices because it’s different each time. If I want an interesting taste, I might put in some cardamom, cumin, and coriander seeds, or I might just do the herbs de provence kind of flavouring (Simon and Garfunkel soup – parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme). Or if I feel adventurous I’ll dabble with both.
The kale is washed and chopped quite finely before adding to the onion mixture. Let it cook a bit so it’s wilted and mixed well with the onions.
Usually I sprinkle a bit of flour into the sauteed kale, onions, and spices, and then stir to coat the onions and kale so there won’t be any lumps when I add the liquid.
I use the stock from simmering the ribs. Stir it around and check for flavouring. Add what you feel is missing. Notice I haven’t mentioned salt or pepper? Sometimes I’ve used a dash of steak spice and although it adds a wonderful flavour, it has plenty of salt. I’ve ruined a dinner once before I learned that. So I always wait until the end to add salt if needed. Same with pepper. Taste it first before you add salt or pepper!
Don’t forget to add the chopped up meat to the soup.
Finally, before serving I like to add a half cup or so of cream (half and half, or coffee cream – whatever you call it), or you can add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream to give it more zip.
I didn’t tell you how much of anything to put in the soup, because it’s one that you make up as you go along. Do whatever you feel like doing. It can’t fail to please on a wintery day.