Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow day soup

this photo does not do it justice
Yesterday was our first snow day of the season and I am pretty darn satisfied with how I used my found time.  This storm was well forecasted for a change, and I was so confident that I was going to be home for the day, that I prepped bread dough the night before and got to enjoy the aroma of fresh bread baking in my oven.  Love that! 

I am newly obsessed with kale, following my meal at Cafe Capriccio, and decided to make a kale and bean soup.  I don't know about you, but I am convinced that white beans and kale are the flavor combination of winter 2011 - it seems like I'm seeing it everywhere (@Eataly on bruschetta, @Cafe Capriccio on crostini, in Bon Appetit, etc).  I gathered together 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into 2" pieces), a package of garlic and chicken sausage (sliced into 1" rounds), a huge bunch of kale (coarsely chopped), an entire head of garlic (again, coarsely chopped), 2/3 of a bag of "baby" carrots, approximately 2.5 quarts of assorted stock (more on this later) and a big can of canellini beans. 

The process:  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy, deep pot, over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and lightly brown.  Turn down the heat and toss in the chunks of chicken thighs.  Brown on all sides, turning as necessary.  Add the chicken sausage and stock - I used 3 different types of stock from my freezer; turkey and two different batches of chicken stock.  I seasoned each of those birds differently and think the variety added a really nice depth to my end result. Turn the heat down to medium low and toss in the carrots and kale, stirring to distribute evenly, and cover.  My bunch of kale was ginormous and I had to add it slowly as it cooked down, which took a few minutes.  After about 30 minutes, I reached for my can of white beans and...paused.   "Hmmm.  If everyone is doing kale and white beans maybe I need to switch it up a bit," I thought to myself.  I considered how beautiful the orange carrots looked and decided to put my own spin on things (as I like to do) and reached for a bag of dried yellow lentils (2.5 - 3 cups, I'd say ) instead.  Oh, yeah.  Perfect!  I covered the pot again, turned the heat to as low as it would go and went skiing for a couple of hours.  Upon my return, inspired by the lentils, I seasoned the soup with between 1/4 and a 1/3 cup of garam masala and let the spices cook for about 30 minutes prior to ladling that loveliness into bowls.  I served the soup with home baked bread, soft, herbed cheese and roasted cauliflower.  Delicious.  
a delicious winter salad

Today's lunch was a salad of baby spinach and arugula dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice then topped with leftover roasted cauliflower, croutons and golden raisins. Yum, yum - that's good eating.

1 comment:

  1. The soup looks incredible, more like stew than soup. Now I've got kale and red lentils on the brain. And glad you enjoyed the snow day. We packed in all that should be on a snow day: sleeping late, playing games, ice skating, sledding, brownie baking, hot cocoa... phew. No wonder we were exhausted at the end of the day.