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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Among Friends Thursday - Spicy Sausage and Kale Soup

Kale is everywhere these days. Except the grocery store it seems. From the press it is getting, one would think God just invented it. It is so much the buzz, I am wondering if kale has its own PR agent. I have been using it in my spoon salad for years, and have made soups with it too. But when I had it on my grocery list to make this recipe of Carolyn's from the Among Friends cookbook, I ran into problems. First grocery store I hit, I was met with sticker shock. What was 99 cents a bunch before Christmas was suddenly $2.69 a bunch. Ouch. I started to get it anyway, the dug under the mustard greens around to find they were out. Went to check the organic section. The organic farmers have always pushed fresh kale, and somehow it was priced even lower than the non organic.  But, the store was out there too. Either way, I left empty handed.

Store number two does not carry kale. Granted, that was Aldi, and you never know what they will stock. Store number three had a place for it, a great price of 99 cents, but alas, no greens. Not wanting to go home kaleless, I decided to track down the Target produce guy. With my best smile and a cheerful whine (yes you can do both) I convinced him to run in the store room to check. He found some. Three bunches. We took two and left the last remaining bunch of kale to whatever shopper was as desperate as I. Who could take all three knowing the shortage? I only wish my friend NeeCee had been with me because the next day she was lamenting that there was no kale to be found in Tulsa! I wonder if it was that way all over the country? Suddenly, Americans care about their health? Is kale the new superstar veggie? Must be that it is January, with all those fresh resolutions and such.

So soup was back on the menu. Carolyn's recipe says to use spicy Italian sausage, My choice said hot or mild, so I went with the hot. Gotta say, hot it was. I had a little trouble getting the casings off my brand. I have a thing about over handling raw meat. I am just a bit squeamish there, but I finally figured out that I could twist a whole link in the center (think balloon animal) and squeeze the sausage out the ends. That was better.

The soup is really easy to prepare after that. It is so good for you, with all those veggies--especially that elusive kale. Carolyn calls for red pepper flakes. Knowing my guy's feelings about that, I halved the amount. Even with that reduction, the soup was plenty spicy.  I am assuming my sausage was extra hot, because I know Carolyn's recipes are always spot on. Once I tasted it, I knew I would have to do something for the hubby. To tone his down a bit, I stirred in some cream cheese. Wow was that good! I had mine plain, true to Carolyn's recipe. If you enjoy the spice, it is really all you need. I even skipped the Parmesan cheese. Next time to make it more hubby friendly, I will choose a sweet Italian sausage instead. Either way, this soup is nutritious whole food and very satisfying.

If you don't own a copy of Low Carbing Among Friends, you really need to get a book. (see the link to the right of the page) With so many recipes, it will keep you happy in the kitchen for a long time. I know my Among Friends Thursdays will not run out for a long, long time! If any of you Diners make a recipe you recommend from the book, take a photo and I will be happy to publish your version here on the Diner blog.


Kelly the Happy Texan said...

Balloon animal sausage! Lol Hilarious. Never thought of it that way.

Ok another great recipe for me to try from the book. My favorite cookbook!

Should I even mention that my Kroger had kale for 59¢ a bunch? No?

Anonymous said...

So silly! Use a knife and CUT a slit down the length of the sausage and VOILA! Instant caseless sausage without squeezing!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

It's the New Years Rush! Everybody is trying to eat well. Give it a couple of weeks and there will be LOADS of kale on the shelves! :-)
That looks really lovely...I love spicy sausage.

Lisa Marshall said...

I guess the knife thing would work too. Mine seemed to be holding on for dear life to the casing...

Lisa Marshall said...

Kelly--no, you should not mention that. But it does make me happy I did not buy the $2.69 bunch.

Shrink to Fit said...

This sounds delish! I don't like handling raw meat either. Can not cut up a chicken, eww! Anyway, that book looks like something I could use.

Ancient Egypt Pyramids said...

Another Smart post from you Admin :)

Anonymous said...

i made up a sausage/kale soup years ago. this sounds very similar. try adding 1/4-1/2 cup of cream to the soup just before serving. it cuts the spice and is truly delicious.