~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kale, Potato and Chorizo Soup... 2 versions(with sauerkraut or cream)

Kale, Potato and Chorizo Soup... 2 versions(with sauerkraut or cream). When I made the homemade chorizo some time ago, I knew I wanted to use some of it to make a soup. At the time I was looking to make a homey, comforting sort of soup.... or more like a rustic looking soup that would use minimal ingredients and be somewhat on the healthier side. The usual combination of potato and onion often imparts a wonderful flavor to soups... and normally it adds "bulk" so the soup stretches quite a bit. And because I had plenty of kale in my garden( it lasts well into the cool months), I wanted to add some of it to the soup as well. Kale stands up remarkably well in soups, so I picked up a whole bunch thinking I was going to make just one type of soup. Instead I made 2... 

Dividing the soup in 2 was more like a last minute decision. Initially, I wanted to use up most of the kale I had already picked from my garden, but after tasting the soup, I knew the flavors would go incredibly well with some sauerkraut. I had plenty of pickled cabbage in the fridge, so why not add some? The sauerkraut addition made the soup so good that I want to make it again. It was simply delicious.

In the end, I decided to use up all the kale I had picked, so it made the soup feel quite "full"... lots of leafy vegetables, potatoes and meat... with minimal liquid. And I was alright with that. But if you want more liquid, then you can increase the stock if you like, or cut down on the kale. Also you don't have to make 2 versions of the soup, you can just stick with the original by using just kale, potato and chorizo... and adding cream to taste. You'll end up with a delicious soup. But if you want to skip the cream (no dairy), then making the sauerkraut version is just as delicious. My husband really enjoyed the sauerkraut variation.

In any case, I split the soup in 2 just to see the difference... and to have some variety as leftovers. The soup is great to play around with, because sometimes the ingredients work so well together, that you can just adjust the soup to taste. Potato, onion and seasoned meat always marry well. If you like, you can skip the kale, and add some spinach, or even omit it all together. And while I added half water, half stock for the liquid, you can use just stock for additional flavor. Also, you can skip the cream( though it makes the soup taste extra special) and top with some fresh green onion, and maybe some crumbled bacon. These are just ideas... but the soup is rather easy to make(one pot)... and makes for a quick meal. It's also gluten-free and has the option of being made dairy-free. A great fall-like soup that warms you through and through. Hope you enjoy...      

Tip: If you don't have chorizo, opt to use ground beef and adjust seasoning to include some spice of sorts, including a bit of smoked paprika.

You will need: 
1 lb russet potatoes 
2 cups diced onion(1 large onion)
1 large garlic clove, grated
1/2 cup water, for deglazing
3-4 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
2-4 cups packed chopped kale(I used 4 cups)
salt and pepper as needed

Optional add ins: dividing the soup in half (or you can make the soup one version only and doubling ingredient of choice below, be it sauerkraut or cream)

1 cup shredded homemade sauerkraut to 1/2 of soup
1/4 cup cream, or to taste  added to the other 1/2 of soup

1. Wash and peel potatoes. Cut in thick slices and cut each slice in quarters. Set aside. Wash and roughly chop kale. Set aside. Dice onion and grate garlic. Set aside. 
2. In a large soup pot, add chorizo sausage meat and cook on medium heat breaking up the sausage meat to a crumble. Cook meat until nicely browned.
3. Add onion and garlic and continue to cook until onion softens, stirring every so often so as not to burn... about 5 minutes.
4. Add the 1/2 cup water  to de-glaze, scraping any browned bits that may have formed at the bottom of the pot... continue to cook until water is almost evaporated but meat still has a bit of moisture.
5. Pour the chicken stock and 2 1/2 cups water over meat.
6. Add the cut potatoes and bring soup to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. 
7. Add kale and cooker for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Adjust seasoning.

8. At this point you can make 2 versions of the soup: 

~Divide in 2: you will need another pot
1) Add 1 cup of shredded sauerkraut to half of the soup and cook on low for another 5 minutes until the sauerkraut gives off its flavor.  
2) Add 1/4 cup cream(or to taste) to the other half of the soup and simmer for 3-5 minutes.  

~OR Make ONE type of soup by choosing one preferred version below:
1) Add 2 cups sauerkraut and cook on low for about 5-7 minutes.
2) Add 1/2 cup cream and simmer for 3-5 minutes


Speranta said...

Merita incercata reteta ,imi place foarte mult!

O zi frumoasa iti doresc!

Joanne T Ferguson said...

G'day! Both look great, it would be difficult to decide which one today!
Perhaps could come through the screen and try the first one for lunch, the next for dinner! :)
Cheers! Joanne

Ellie said...

Speranta, Imi pare bine ca iti place:). Foarte usor de facut... merita incercata!

Merci de vizita, o zi placuta!

Ellie said...


Thanks for stopping by... both soups were great. Worth making both, this way you don't have to decide:).

Have a great day!

Sherry said...

Last night, I made the version using your homemade chorizo recipe and sauerkraut. Yum!:) All but one person liked it so I will definitely be making it again.

Because of the sourness from the kraut, it reminded me a little of your sarmale, but in soup form and with oregano instead of dill. Then again, maybe that's because we topped it with a dollop of sour cream, Romanian style(When I was in Pitesti, it seemed like they topped everything in sour cream, ciorba, sarmale, ardei umpluti,and much more - not that I'm complaining!)

I think I may try it again using the cream version, but I may change it up a bit substituting Italian style sausage for chorizo and adding some cremini/portobellos mushrooms to the onion and garlic sautee mixture.

As always, thanks for sharing such a great recipe! It really hit the spot on a colder than usual day in Texas!

Ellie said...

Sherry, Oh, I am so glad you tried the sauerkraut soup ... it means a ton! Yes, the soup does have very similar flavors to the sarmales. Interestingly, I grew up with using minimal sour cream in our dishes... we never added it to our soups and even sarmale was usually served without it ... but stuffed peppers and stuffed grape leaves, now that was a different story... we always HAD to have sour cream:). Funny, isn't it? Even in Romanian families, dishes aren't always the same:). But you are right... in other parts of Romania people do add sour cream... on about everything:).

Maybe next time you make the soup, you can add less sauerkraut, or rinse it before adding it to the soup... we're used to sour, but it's definitely something one has to get used to:)... since we grew up with "sour" soups, it's now become part of us:).

In any case, I'm thrilled most everyone liked it... the cream version(with Italian flavors) will definitely be more mild, but your suggestion of adding mushrooms sounds fantastic! Love how you are willing to make the soup your own...

Thanks SO much for trying out the recipes( including the chorizo)... and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback on them.

It's wonderful that you were able to experience the Romanian cuisine in Pitesti... made it there one year while visiting:) . Thanks for stopping by and stay warm... we've been below zero for over a week now, and we too have been having soups:).

Dan said...

Good morning from Los Angeles Ellie!
I've cooked this soup (cream version) many times and my family loves it. We always have it when we visit The olive Garden restaurant out here. They call it Zuppa Toscana, and they use Italian sausage instead of chorizo, which I am not a fan of to begin with. Very hearty and delicious. Just as a side note, a while back we were blogging about mici you may remember. I tell you, I've looked far and wide for different recipes, different spices, different you name it... I cannot make them if my life depended on it. It's not meant to be for me, I guess. So I've decided to do the sensible thing and give up on it. I can't take one more disappointment, it interferes with my ability to cook other recipes, lol. I want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year and all the best for 2014!

Ellie said...

Greetings to you, Dan... all the way to LA:). Thanks you so much for your well wishes for this year! Wishing you and your family a blessed New Year as well... really appreciate you stopping by.

You know, I've never had the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden, though I hear it is a favorite for many. I love trying my own spin on recipes... I think that's what I like about cooking at home. You're only limited to your imagination... and of course your taste buds:).

As for the mici, I hear you:)... though when all is calm in the cooking department, you may want to try it again and make them your own. That's how recipes develop and change over time... chefs put their own spin on dishes and cooking never gets boring:).

What matters is that you enjoy what you cook and eat...

Take care, and happy cooking!