Kale Soup with Chorizo, Potatoes and White Beans
This Kale Soup is Spicy and SatisfyingFor this kale soup I use lacinato or dinosaur kale, fresh Mexican chorizo, red mini potatoes and cannellini white beans. It has similar ingredients to Portuguese kale soup or Caldo Verde, but instead of using chourico sausage, I use Mexican-style chorizo, which is crumblier and has a different spice profile.
My Tricks for Making this Soup Extra TastyI think a lot about umami, or the 5th taste, to enhance flavor when I am developing a recipe. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not a recipe fits traditional food combinations or cooking techniques. Instead, I think about what I can do to make it taste fantastic. That is where umami comes in. I add three ingredients to boost umami in this recipe: 1) Worcestershire sauce, 2) tomato paste and 3) a heel of parmesan cheese. Most people don't realize this, but Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies, and these little fish make things delicious. If you don't have any Worcestershire sauce you can substitute a little Asian fish sauce, which is also made from anchovies. Either way, all you need is a spoonful to have a flavor impact. Tomato paste is another umami-rich food that adds great flavor even in small amounts. I buy a tube of concentrated tomato paste and store it in the fridge so I can add a spoonful here and there when I cook without opening up a larger can. I find a spoonful of tomato sauce is often the missing ingredient when I'm thinking "hmmm...what does this need?" Parmesan cheese is also rich in umami. A great way to boost the flavor of soup is to throw in a spent heel of parmesan cheese, which is the rind that is left over after you have shaved off most of the usable part of the cheese. I save these heels in plastic bags in my fridge until I make a soup and then in they go into my soup pot. It is a great technique for adding flavor and to avoid wasting any part of an expensive piece of Parmigiano Reggiano.
How to Prepare KaleI used to use scissors or a knife to remove kale spines, but always found it awkward and laborious. My husband bought me a kale stemmer, which was a piece of plastic with holes in it that you pulled the kale leaf through to stem it. This tool was also awkward and more trouble than it was worth. Finally I learned the best tool for removing kale stems are your fingers. I just grab the stem and tear off the sides of the kale. Don't worry about what the remaining kale pieces look like, they cook down in the soup and you will not be able to tell if you chopped them precisely or tore them unevenly. If you don't mind the texture you can also just leave the stems in. To learn more about kale check out my post here.
The Difference Between Spanish and Mexican ChorizoSpanish chorizo is more like salami. It is dry-cured and can be eaten without cooking it. It is seasoned with pimenton, or Spanish smoked paprika, which gives the sausage its bright color and smokey flavor. Mexican chorizo tends to have plenty of salt in it so I do not add salt when cooking with it. Mexican chorizo is a fresh, uncooked sausage that may be sold in bulk or in sausage casings. It is generally made from pork and must be cooked before it is eaten. It gets its bright red color from chile used to season it. When you cook Mexican chorizo it releases a lot of oil. The cooked chorizo must be drained of the oil before adding to a recipe. The oil can be reserved and used to add flavor to other dishes.
Mis en Place vs. Prep as You GoMis en place is a French culinary term that literally means everything in its place, but from a cooking standpoint means that you prep all the ingredients in advance of starting your recipe. This technique is very important for some dishes like fried rice and stir-fry dishes that come together quickly, but mis en place is not always the most efficient way to cook. This soup is an example of a recipe that I wouldn't use mis en place techniques. Why? There is cooking time between steps that allow you to prep the next ingredients. When the chorizo is cooking I prep my garlic and onions. When the onions are cooking I prep my kale, potatoes and carrots. In this recipe you actually save time by not prepping in advance.
Make a Double or Triple BatchThis soup freezes very well, so why not make a double or triple batch? When you come home late at night and want something hearty and healthy, you will be grateful for your freezer stash of this delicious soup.
Variations to Accommodate Different DietsThis vegetable soup can be modified to accommodate a variety of diets:
- Vegetarian -- skip the chorizo, substitute mushrooms or soy-based chorizo and add a little red pepper flakes to give it some heat.
- Whole 30 -- skip the beans and the cheese and use sweet potatoes instead of red potatoes.
- Not a fan of spicy pork chorizo -- substitute other sausage or even plain ground turkey or chicken and add a little red pepper flakes to give it some heat.
- Low fat diet - skip the chorizo and use a spicy chicken or turkey sausage instead.
Serve with Cowboy Garlic BreadCowboy garlic bread is made with slices of rustic bread, drizzled with olive oil and toasted under the broiler or on a grill. When the bread is toasted, remove from the oven and rub with a peeled clove of garlic while the bread is still hot. You can add a little more olive oil and a pinch of flakey salt if you wish.
Want More Chorizo Recipes?
- Chorizo and Red Pepper Strata
- Paella with Artichokes, Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp
- Chorizo and Potato Enchiladas
- Chorizo and Clams
Kale Soup with Chorizo, Potatoes and White Beans
Yield 4 - 6 servings
For this kale soup I use lacinato or dinosaur kale, fresh Mexican chorizo, red mini potatoes and cannellini white beans. It has similar ingredients to Portuguese kale soup or Caldo Verde, but instead of using chourico sausage, I use Mexican-style chorizo, which is crumblier and has a different spice profile.
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped into 2" pieces
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 pound red potatoes, unpeeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 1 48-ounce container of "less sodium" chicken stock
- 1 T tomato paste
- 1 t Worcestershire sauce
- 2 t dried oregano
- 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 heel parmesan cheese (optional)
- Fresh ground pepper
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. When pot is hot add 1 T olive oil. When oil is hot add chorizo sausage and cook until done, about 12 minutes. Chorizo will be crumbly. Remove the chorizo using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel covered plate, patting dry to mop up most of the oil. Set aside. Remove all but about 1 T of the oil remaining in the pan and discard or save to add flavor to another dish.
- While chorizo is cooking mince the garlic and chop the onion. I use a food processor and mince the garlic first by whirling until the cloves are finely chopped. I add the onion and pulse until the onion is coarsely chopped. Don't over process or you will have onion juice.
- Reheat the oil remaining in the pot over medium heat and add the garlic and onion mixture. Cook until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.
- While the onions are cooking peel and slice the carrots, chop the potatoes and remove the spines from the kale and tear the leaves into 2" pieces. See head note for best way to remove the spines.
- Add all the vegetables to the onions and cook for another 5 - 6 minutes until the kale is wilted.
- Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and oregano to the pot. Return the drained chorizo to the pot, add the beans and toss in a parmesan heel if you are lucky enough to have one. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.
- Depending on how oily your chorizo is, some oily foam may rise to the top of the pot. Take a spoon and remove some of it. Don't get too carried away, the oil will stir into the soup and add flavor.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese gratings, chopped parsley and serve with cowboy garlic bread.
- This soup comes together in just about an hour, including prep and cooking time. Much of the prep can be done while the other ingredients cook.
- I do not add salt to this recipe as I find there is plenty in the chorizo.
Courses Dinner or Lunch
Cuisine New American