Some days nothing seems to go right. Some days that especially, or even exclusively, applies to cooking. Last night was one of those aggravating nights. But I pushed through, and tasted a great new recipe. I’m glad I didn’t give up.
Perhaps I was thrown off my stride by the fact that this was an unplanned recipe. Normally I go through my recipes during the week, and make a day by day menu, and then make a careful grocery list of all ingredients I will need for the recipes (and then sort out which coupons I have and can use…but that’s a different story.). This week’s recipe was an impulsive choice, fueled by the sight of a two pound bag of kale in the supermarket, and the knowledge that I’d never tried kale before, but had heard it was really good for you. So I picked the bag up to check it out, and possibly try out the kale chips everyone keeps raving about, only to see this recipe on the back of the bag. I immediately tossed the bag in my cart, satisfied from a cursory glance that not only did the recipe look delicious, but it seemed to require only ingredients I already had on hand, including some of the last meat in the house that I needed to use up.
Kale and Smoked Sausage Soup (Nature’s Greens bag, www.WPRawl.com)
- 2 lbs Nature’s Greens kale greens
- 1 (14oz) can beef broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup lentils, washed
- 1/2 cup smoked turkey sausage, diced
- 2/3 cup diced yellow onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cloves chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp water
“Bring broth and water to a boil in large heavy pot. Add lentils and smoked sausage. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
In a skillet, saute onions, celery, and garlic in olive oil. Mix flour and water together until smooth. Slowly stir flour mixture into skillet. Pour skillet mixture into the broth. Add kale and bring to a low boil. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Yield: 10-12 servings”
The first thing I noticed when I started to pull out the ingredients last night was that the recipe called for beef broth, and I didn’t have any beef broth. I can’t just buy most broth at the store, either, since almost all shelf-stable broths have yeast in them, if not gluten. No problem. I make my own broth. And I did have some of my homemade chicken broth on hand. It would taste just as good.
Next I realized that the recipe called for a large heavy pot. Initially I assumed my All Clad stockpot would be enough, but clearly my lack of size/ depth perception had struck again, since there was no way that the whole two pound bag of kale was going to fit into the pot. Alright, I’d just fit what I could into the pot and hope the recipe still tasted good with half the called-for amount of kale.
Then I realized that I was out of celery, and hadn’t bought any more this week. Okay, annoying, but not a huge problem. I always add extra onion anyway (why measure out a half cup when you can shop up the whole thing and have your recipe full of onion-y goodness?), and I could add some celery seed to provide celery flavor to the soup.
The recipe didn’t specify which type of lentils to use, so I used the green lentils I had on hand. Obviously I wasn’t going to thicken the soup with flour, so I substituted corn starch for it, like I usually do. I also decided to compensate for my lack of celery by adding 1/3 tsp celery seed. Not only should it compensate, but it would also help sate my spices and herbs obsession. I couldn’t believe how simple this recipe was, and was worried the flavor wouldn’t be what I was hoping for. Notice also the lack of added salt. Would the dish be tasty at all?
Finally, as the last of the ingredients were in the pot, for their final 30 minutes of cooking, I realized that I’d not diced the sausage as directed, but merely sliced the links. By this point, I was getting stressed. Dinner smelled delicious, but would it be?
I shouldn’t have worried. Of course, given the ingredients, it was terrific. Kale is now a new favorite vegetable of mine. The soup is incredibly filling, and extremely tasty, despite so few spices or herbs, and no added salt. I won’t be making it often, at least not as long as my husband wants to avoid meat, but I’ll definitely add it to my repertoire. And maybe add a larger stockpot to my kitchen collection as well? That’s a goal to save for.
The best news about this recipe, of course, is that since I have leftover kale, I can now try to make the kale chips I keep hearing about. And of course if I do, I’ll be sure to share that recipe too.
**Just a warning, if you go to the vendor’s website: it was a little wonky, and wouldn’t fully load, at least for me. Hopefully that’s not the case next time. I want to see what other recipes they have to offer.