I’ll admit I am not a huge soup fan until the weather turns cold and dreary, like this November. I still yearn for the freshness of vegetables from the summer months, but knowing that this is not impossible due to our climate, I turn to soup to satisfy the flavours I crave.
Today I have chosen kale — you either love or hate it. I have cooked it many ways and find it very versatile in many dishes.
It is especially fabulous in soup as it is tasty and the texture has a bit more body to it. Even more, it’s full of vitamins and iron that our bodies crave this time of year.
The trick to kale is cooking it enough. If you undercook it, it will be tough; so cook it to the point where it is soft, but not slimy. When you cook kale, it’s always in salted water and you take the cover off once the kale goes into the pot so it stays nice and green in colour.
Kale Broth with Lemon Zest & Parmesan*
• 50 g butter
• 175 g potatoes, peeled and diced into neat 1 centimetre dice
• 175 g onions, peeled and diced into neat 1 centimetre dice
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed into a smooth paste
• Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
• 1.2 litres chicken stock
• 600 ml kale leaves, measured after removing stalks and gently torn into small pieces
• Finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon
• 4-6 heaped teaspoons of grated Parmesan
• Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and allow to foam.
• Add the potatoes, onions and crushed garlic.
• Coat in the butter and season with salt and pepper.
• Cover with a butter wrapper or parchment paper with a tight fitting lid. Cook on a very low setting, allowing the vegetables to sweat gently until barley tender. This is about 10 minutes. Do not overcook to the point where the potatoes collapse.
• Add the stock, stir gently, bring to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Don’t cook it up too fast and too bubbly or the stock will loose its flavour. The potato and onions should be completely tender but holding their shape. Taste and correct the seasoning. This is the base and can be but aside until later.
• To finish the broth, bring it back to a simmer. Add the kale and allow to cook gently, uncovered, until soft. Another 10 minutes or so.
• Taste a little bit of kale to make sure it has cooked correctly and check seasoning again.
• Ladle the soup into hot soup bowls. Place a pinch of lemon zest, one heaping teaspoon of grated Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
*Recipe copyright from Master It by Rory O’Connell.
Lara McCormack is one of the owners of From Scratch – A Mountain Kitchen in Fairmont Hot Springs where one can savor great seasonal food, sip from a selection of beverages including BC wines and enjoy the views of our gorgeous valley landscape.