Creamy Kale Soup

This summer, we had a pretty awesome CSA arrangement with a local farmer we know. She delivered us a big bag of veggies, greens and herbs each week, along with eggs from her free-range hens, and it was all seasonally based – lots of greens in the spring, gourds in the fall kind of thing. Every once in a while, we’d end up with a TON of kale, since the two of us couldn’t eat it all. I got tired of kale salads, my kale chips never quite made it to edibility (a story for another time), but I thought that soup might do the trick. This is what I cobbled together after perusing a few dozen kale soup recipes, and it came out well. This fall, as our last batch of backyard kale is flourishing in the cool weather, I think we’ll be making a few more batches to freeze. The best thing about this soup is that it’s really just a basic foundation for any soup made with greens, and (like most of my recipes) it’s super flexible. This does mean ingredient amounts are vague, but you can sort of judge the balance as you go along – it’s part of the fun.

Creamy Kale Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 big bunches of kale (or chard, or spinach, or whatever hardy greens you have on hand), no stems
  • 1 large leek, finely diced (could sub. a medium sweet onion)
  • 1 large apple (Ida Red, Braeburn, or Gala work well), peeled, cored and diced (this takes the bitterness out of the kale, and you won’t really taste it entirely)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 pint of half-and-half
  • 1/4c flour
  • 4ish cups veggie stock (possibly more, depending on how much kale you have)
  • salt, pepper, herbs
  • sour cream

1. Melt the butter in the bottom of the pot, then add the leeks and saute until they’re soft and translucent

2. Add the diced apple bits, continue to saute for a few minutes until they’re soft

3. Add salt and herbs to taste (I used herbes de provence, thyme and sage) and saute another minute or so

4. Add 3 cups of the stock and stir well to mix, then add the chopped kale and stir to mix until kale is totally wet.

5. Cover the pot and let sit for several minutes on low, stirring occasionally until the kale has wilted most of the way

6. When the kale is wilted, slowly stir in the cream, and add the remaining stock until the liquid level covers the kale, then simmer for 5 mins or so, stirring so it doesn’t burn

7. When the kale is soft enough, blend the soup either a bit at a time in a blender (or use an immersion blender, or any blending-type apparatus…)

8. After it’s blended, to thicken the soup, mix in the 1/4 cup of flour (the best way to do this without getting any lumps is to put the flour into a small jar with some warm water, screw the lid on tightly, and shake the jar for a few minutes until the flour and water are mixed, then add resulting flour liquid to the soup. Usually works like a charm).

9. check the seasoning of the soup, add the pepper and any more salt, swirl in a dollop of sour cream, and serve hot! (it’s especially good with garlic toast).

Note about freezing – I often leave out the flour/cream if I’m going to freeze it, since it’ll freeze slightly better without them. It does mean more forethought and cooking on the thawing end however many months later, but it tends to be a bit easier to blend back to smooth that way.

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