Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Kielbasa and Kale Soup

It looks like spring is finally edging it's way in for good - and what better way to celebrate than with a bowl full of vibrant colour and flavour! This Kielbasa and Kale Soup is packed with carrots, potatoes, and white beans in addition to its namesake ingredients, and packs a spicy, smoky punch too.

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You might be surprised to know that my family eats soup and stews year round. Lunchtime in the summer is often just as hectic (if not more so) than it is during the school year, since we either have the littles over all day, the garden needs constant attention, or mom is running off somewhere or other. Having filling, delicious meals on hand is something that never goes out of season! Given that the warmer months are here (hopefully to stay!) I wanted to bring the colours of the season into this bi-monthly batch with lots of kale, celery and carrots. These vegetables were accented with hearty sausage and potatoes, creamy white beans, a hefty pop of garlic and a richly flavoured homemade chicken broth.

The star of the show, for me at least, is the smoked paprika. I own three varieties of smoked paprika, which I love to use in the summer to amplify the flavour of meals either cooked on the grill or not. Selefina Spices' Spanish de la Vera Smoked Paprika is the perfect addition to burger mixes, mayo, ketchup, deviled eggs and pasta salad - and I'd wager it would make grilled corn butter pop too. Letting the soup simmer (and even sit overnight before reheating) allows the flavour of the paprika to infuse fully, making every bite memorable.

Some notes on variations and alternate ingredients:

  • You can use turkey or beef kielbasa in place of the traditional pork, or even cooked Polish sausage. I haven't tried vegan sausage in this but it should work as well, or leave it out completely.
  • If you don't have hot smoked paprika on hand, mix 1 1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika with 1/4 tsp of cayenne to make your own.
  • If you don't want the spice of the hot paprika, use sweet smoked paprika 1:1 for the hot paprika. 
  • Any waxy potato will work - I used Yukon Gold, but white or red potatoes would work too.
  • Vegetable broth can be used in place of chicken, if you don't use low sodium taste the soup and add salt to taste
  • Start with 9 cups of broth and add if you need the soup to loosen up.
  • Kidney beans, brown lentils, lima beans and navy beans will all work. You want about 5 cups of cooked beans if you're cooking from dry.
  • You can use any leafy greens instead of kale - Savoy cabbage or mature spinach are both good.
  • This soup freezes well - ladle cooled soup into freezer-safe containers and store up to 3 months.

Kielbasa and Kale Soup

Serves 10
1 tbsp canola oil
12-14 oz kielbasa sausage link, skinned and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 tbsp hot smoked paprika
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
4 medium-sized waxy potatoes 
3 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
10-12 oz fresh or frozen chopped kale
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil until shimmering over medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to brown.
  3. Add the onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until it begins to soften.
  4. Add the paprika and pepper and cook, stirring to coat everything, for one minute.
  5. Add the garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes and stir through to coat with spices.
  6. Add the broth and scrape up the browned pan bits.
  7. Add the beans, salt, thyme, and parsley and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are done.
  9. Stir in the kale to wilt.

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