September brought summer halting to an end—and I’m sure no one was as indifferent toward the changing temperatures as I was. See, I’m not really a summer sort of person. I like bundling up in sweaters and jackets, and feeling cozy and snuggly. I spend most of July daydreaming about when boots will again be reasonable footwear (I said “reasonable”—Uggs with your miniskirt is way out of style now, guys. way out). I am also condemned to getting the world’s worst sunburns every time I step outdoors for more than 30 seconds in the summertime, a curse that makes even the most common summertime activities—going to the beach, for instance—utterly miserable.
Suffice to say, it takes me a while to “warm up” to summer. Oh yes, pun intended. And now that I’ve finally begun to get used to wearing shorts again, I find it’s time to put them away.
Oh well. At least it’s good soup weather.
This one is derived from my giving in to the temptation to buy a package of freshly made mild Italian chicken sausage at the store today. And a recent trip to the farmer’s market, where even the kale looked like a promising treat. Oh, and that can of beans in the closet.
I don’t understand why more people don’t make soup regularly. there’s nothing easier. Just some simple prep work, then into the pot it goes, and BAM *cue Emeril* you’ve got a perfectly satisfying one-pot meal that can make the whole family happy.
For this one, I simply started off by gently cutting the casing off the sausage, then slicing the meat filling mixture into bite sized pieces. Voilà, instant meatballs. Into the pot they go, where I gently browned them in oil until mostly cooked through.
Step two, I removed the meatballs and set them aside, while I browned a diced up onion, 3 cloves of garlic in the pan juices. A cup or so of sherry was added, then a couple of diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick. Finally, I added 4 cups of chicken stock.
Once the chicken stock was boiling, I added the meatballs back into the pot to simmer, followed shortly after by the beans and Kale. I liked that the broth took on some of the spiciness of the meatballs, giving a nice complexity of flavor. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes–perfect!
Kale, thanks to it’s fluffy texture, can kind of hold it’s own without totally withering away for a bit longer than other greens, but you still want to make sure it gets cooked until tender–it has a tendency to being stringy and tough if you undercook. I suggest letting it simmer the whole 30 minutes. However, If you decide to substitute spinach, for instance, you’ll need to add it much closer to serving time.
Served with a crusty hunk of bread and a slab of watermelon (I guess I can still catch a glimpse of summer, after all), this proved to be quite a satisfying meal. So, if you’re looking for something comfortable and warm as you get ready for the cold months ahead, check this soup out. It’s really good, I promise.