Creamy Potato and Braised Kale Soup

March 17, 2017

So today is St. Patrick’s Day, and between several events and promotions at work, I managed to find myself heartily sick of corned beef (I know, I was shocked too).  I still wanted, however, to have a sort of thematically appropriate dinner – well, and I felt like I hadn’t been fun and creative in a while.

I’d also been vaguely craving a good creamy potato soup since last weekend, when I had the potato soup at a local eatery and was rather disappointed to find it was literally chunks of potato in broth.  I mean, it was tasty, but just… not what I wanted, texturally.

I really like how this soup came out – the flavors are very rich, and there’s a lovely little zing from the kale, which was braised quickly in some red wine vinegar.  This can also be easily adapted to be vegetarian or vegan – just sub out the meaty/creamy things! (I’ll offer options in the ingredients)

Okay? Here we go!

The Goods:

1 large sweet/yellow onion, peeled and roughly sliced (or 1 bunch of leeks) ((if you’re not a fan of alliums, this is optional))

1 head of garlic, peeled and cloves slightly smashed.  (Okay, so you may not need the entire head of garlic.  No, wait, that’s crazy.)

4 good sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

4 cups broth (I used chicken broth, you can easily use vegetable broth or just plain water, but broth is much more flavorful)

1 pint heavy cream (you can make this vegan by subbing out for.. uh, almond milk? cashew milk? coconut milk? I’d avoid soy milk though because it’s got such a distinct flavor)

1 head curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped

salt, pepper to taste

red wine vinegar

olive oil (er… I used bacon fat)

optional topping: cooked, crumbled bacon

The method:

Get your soup pot heated up on … medium, I guess?  Glug in some oil or whatever fat you’re using.  It should just coat the bottom of the pan.

Chuck in your onion and sautee for a few minutes until soft.

Throw in your garlic.  It’s okay not to chop things carefully, you’ll be pureeing the whole thing later anyway!

Cook onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, a couple minutes.

Toss in your potatoes.  Add your broth.

Bring to a boil, clap on a lid, simmer for… an hour, or until the potatoes basically fall apart if you breathe on them.

If you’ve got a stick blender, that’d be the easiest way to puree the whole lovely mess.  If not, go in small batches in a blender – and be careful! Getting splashed by boiling hot soup is not fun!

You’ll end up with a super-thick puree.  Add your cream or vegan alternative, stir to combine, Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add a little water if it’s too thick for your liking.  Pretty good so far, right?

While your potato goo is simmering (before the pureeing), heat another big pan (or wok, if you’re me) and glug in some olive oil.  I like my kale just a bit charred, so medium-high is good.

Add your kale in (sizzling is good!) and stir/toss around until wilted.

Sprinkle in a good pinch or two of salt and pepper, and splash in your red wine vinegar (I’d say… not more than 1/4 cup?)

Lower the heat to medium and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, and the kale looks… well, pretty gosh-darned done.  If you like your kale super soft, cook longer.  If you like your kale to still have a bit of bite, cook less. If it seems like the liquid is cooking off too quickly, add like 1 cup of water. (I did this. It turned out just great!)

Dump all that lovely kale into your potato soup.  Stir to combine.

Serve topped with bacon! Or, sunflower seeds would also be nice.

I also made some easy Irish soda bread, the recipe for which I found on allrecipes.com.

Happy noshing!

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