Here’s a quick post about a soup recipe that my family loves. Even the kids! We got this from adapting Emeril Lagasse’s recipe: http://www.emerils.com/recipe/3934/Kale-and-Andouille-Soup. I am a huge Emeril fan from way back. I went to law school in New Orleans in the 1990s, and because you can’t have too much graduate school loan debt, I also got my MBA. My graduate school debt will be paid off in 2028. I kid you not. I will have retired before then. But, I’m not bitter. 🙂
Anyway…. At the same time I was in grad school, Emeril was on this little network called the Food Network. You remember that network? The Food Network used to show viewers how to cook food, with chefs like Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Sara Moulton. Of course, that before the network became reality TV food programming. Seriously, can Chopped be on more?
But I digress, Emeril was also chef and proprietor of a couple of restaurants in New Orleans. Whenever my parents came down to visit (which was surprisingly often…), they always wanted to eat at Emeril’s. And why not? The service was amazing and the food was outstanding, plus the chef was famous. Way back then (GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!), the “famous chef” just wasn’t the norm as it is now. One night, my dad and I were eating at Emeril’s and we asked if they had any signed cookbooks we could buy for my mom’s birthday. Emeril himself came to our table with one of his cookbooks! He chatted with us for a bit and then signed the book for my mom. AMAZING. He was very nice and it was just such an incredible moment.
New Orleans is an fantastic city and just a complete culinary extravaganza. My mother and I were really inspired to cook by the city. You just can’t find New Orleans-type food here in Maryland. So if you want gumbo, étouffée, dirty rice, or bread pudding, you need to make it yourself.
Needless to say, we have all of Emeril’s cookbooks. Some recipes are crazy fussy and you won’t see me do them here. Real and Rustic and his holiday cookbook-ette are the most used. But this recipe makes a really quick, easy and superbly good meal. The recipe is especially useful if you have lots of kale on hand to use.
I made a few adjustments, however. As we made the soup as part of our regular menu, we realized that not many of us actually ate the potatoes Emeril includes in his recipe. Also, sometimes we don’t want the spiciness of the andouille and sub out kielbasa for the sausage.
Kale and Andouille Soup
1/4 cup high heat fat (lard, bacon drippings, vegetable oil)
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 pounds of smoked sausage (andouille, kielbasa, chorizo, etc.), sliced into rounds
3 quarts of chicken stock
4 cups of kale, rinsed, stemmed and torn into manageable pieces
Salt and Pepper
In a large pot suitable for soup, heat the fat over medium heat. When heated, sauté the onions and celery until translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the sausage and cook another minute.
Add the chicken stock. In thirds, add the kale, stirring between additions, and let boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the kale is sufficiently tender. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as necessary.
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What is it about this soup? Soul-satisfying, palate-pleasing…. It is the perfect soup for kale season. My mother-in-law makes a soup just like this and adds cream or half-and-half at the end. If you don’t like kale (and especially if you do like kale) you should try this soup. You will be a convert!