I don’t know what the weather is in your neck of the woods, but is is still freezing cold here. Literally! I was reading through last year’s entries in my little one line a day journal and saw that it was in the upper 60’s this time last year. I remember that a year before, when my daughter was born we dined al fresco before the Ides of March.
I don’t see that happening this year. It is definitely still soup weather!
As we learn to grow and raise our own food, we’re also having to learn how to prepare it. There are many different foods we are having to adjust to because our repertoire of recipes is limited. That is also true for the smoked kielbasa we’ve learned to make.
In this case, limited to a childhood family tradition of slices of the sausage tossed in a crockpot with a bottle of barbecue sauce, simmered for a few hours, and served with a side of potato chips on New Years day.
I needed to expand on that.
With my newly found love for kale (both for ease of growing as well as the flavorful and nutritional powerhouse that it is), this recipe appealed to me. And I wasn’t disappointed. The flavors all married beautifully and a handful or two of tiny star shaped pasta enticed the children to give it a try as well, although it was entirely unnecessary for me to do so. It would go well with a crushed handful of Steel Cut Oat Crackers (found in here), just to complete the heartiness of the meal.
With our hogs finishing up in late winter just as the days are once again beginning to lengthen and a new flush of growth showing on the kale, it is a perfect soup to bring you through the rest of the winter season and into the chilly early spring days.
Kielbasa with Kale & White Beans
- 1 lb. Great Northern bean
- 2 qts. chicken stock
- 3 T. oil or lard
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ t. dried thyme, crushed
- 14 ½ oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, crushed
- 8 c. kale, stems removed, and coarsely chopped or torn
- 1 lb. smoked kielbasa, cut into ½" slices (Here is my recipe for smoked kielbasa)
- sea salt & coarse black pepper
- Soak the beans overnight in water, draining and rinsing the beans the next morning.
- In a stockpot add the beans, stock, and about a tablespoon of salt (or to taste.)
- Bring the stock to a boil and then reduce it to simmer.
- Partially cover and gently simmer until the beans are tender, about 30-45 minutes.
- Stir occasionally and add extra stock if necessary.
- Meanwhile, heat the fat in a skillet, and cook the onion until it is translucent.
- Toss in the remaining vegetables, except the tomatoes, and the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add in the tomatoes.
- Season again to build the flavor and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the beans and stock.
- In a large pot of salted and boiling water, cook the kale for a few minutes until it is soft, but still retains its bright color.
- Drain the kale and when it's cool enough to handle squeeze out the water.
- Brown the sausage in a dollop of fat on medium-high before adding along with the kale to the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Taste adjust the seasonings and allow to stand for 30 minutes before serving.