Farmers’ Market Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

Early in the season, kale and other greens were the focus of the demonstrations at my cooking booth at the St. Matthews Farmers’ Market.  I brought potatoes with me on this particular Saturday – I always feel a bit squeemish about doing that.  I prefer to get most everything for the day’s menu from what’s available at the market.  We borrowed from the Boston Globe for another greens recipe – Citrus collards with raisins redux – dated May 13, 2009.  Delicious!

But the soup was the big hit, as soups always are.  Perhaps it’s because the pot is big and the bulk of the crowd gets a sample.  But most likely, it’s because soups just provide comfort and sustenance.  Soup is a very communal experience.

My neighbor at the Market is Lelia Gentle of Dreamcatcher Farms.  She and her husband Stan raise grass fed beef and pork and provide excellent sausages, steaks and other delightful meats for the market.  We’ll use her bratwurst in this soup, but her ground pork or Italian sausage would work equally well. 

Lelia and Stan just can’t seem to get enough work to do.  They are present at no less than 3 Farmers’ Markets weekly.  The have a local restaurant – ‘Stan’s Fish Sandwich’, and Lelia still finds time to teach cooking classes on preparation of fresh seafood.  ‘Stan’s’, by the way supplies the St. Matthews area with one of Louisville’s best fish sandwiches.

Kale in my garden

Kale in my garden

Back to the soup.  If you are raising your own vegetables, you probably have plenty of kale, even now.  Kale supplies are slipping away at the market by now, but will return in another 6-8 weeks as the fall crops come on.  Why am I waiting to post this recipe, then?  The longer I am at this, it seems, the more my work is dictated by my readers.  A sweet lady stopped by the booth yesterday and sent me a reminder email too, pleading that I blog about this soup and provide the recipe.  Thanks to you, Martha Hanley.  So here it is.

Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

2-3 Tbls butter or olive oil

6 spring onions or scallions, sliced thinly

1 # Dreamcatcher Farms bratwust, casings removed and crumbled

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 cups red skinned potatoes, washed and diced

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes – more if you like it spicy

salt and pepper to taste

1/2-1 cup diced carrot

1 large bunch kale greens, washed and ribs removed

Saute the onion in olive oil until softened.  Add the crumbled sausage and cook until browned and thoroughly done.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  Add the broth and potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 15 minutes, then add the carrot. (I add carrot late in the soup for its retained color and texture.)  Cook for another 10 minutes.

Roll the kale into a tight bundle (like a cigar), then slice into ribbons, or coarsely chop.  Add to the soup.  Continue to cook until the kale is wilted, but still retains its bright color and some texture, about 6-8 minutes.  Serve hot. 



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