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Sweet Potato and Kielbasa Soup

October 2, 2009


Fall is here, folks.  I can no longer deny it.  It’s time to drag out the coats, scarves and close-toed shoes.  It’s time to start thinking about Halloween costumes, getting a flu vaccine and planning Thanksgiving (or is that just me?). 

It’s time for soup.


I like to go to the farmers market with a plan (a plan for soup, in this case).  I know what I need to get, so I’m less easily side-tracked and I spend less.  It also helps if I carry a limited amount of cash in my pocket and nothing else, as I have been known to head to an ATM for more money.  So, when I went to the Vermont Avenue farmers market yesterday I knew I needed kale, sweet potatoes and normal potatoes.  And pastries.  Can’t forget about the pastries.

I made a bee-line for the kale, and one of my colleagues remarked that he’d never seen anyone want to buy kale before.  He asked me where my family was originally from and when I said I was mostly Scandinavian and German, he was like  “Oh, well that explains it.”  It does?  Is kale a Northern European thing?


Turns out, it is (according to Wikipedia, so whether or not you chose to believe me is up to you). It is commonly used in Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands.  An entire culture has evolved around kale in northern Germany, with kale “tours” and then lots of drinking.  Heck, if I had to go on a kale tour, I’d probably want to drink my boredom away too.  In Ireland kale is mixed with mashed potatoes and served with sausages for Halloween.  Apparently they hide small coins in the dish as prizes, that is, if you don’t choke or break a tooth first.  Who knew


So, back to this soup.  I made the soup in my ginormous 15 inch doubles-as-a-weapon cast iron skillet.  I wanted all the ingredients to get good and browned, which wouldn’t happen as easily in a stock pot or the like.  There have been times where I question the wisdom behind buying a cast iron pan that large,  since it must weigh at least 20 pounds. And it takes up 2/3 of the stove top. 


A word to the wise: if you dislocated you shoulder (particularly your right shoulder and you’re right-handed) and you are trying to get it to heal as quickly as possible, don’t spend half an hour cutting up potatoes and onions.  Especially sweet potatoes.  Those things are like rocks.  And definitely don’t try to lift the 15-inch cast iron skillet by yourself.  Just sayin’.


 I made a couple of changes to the original recipe.  I used kielbasa instead of some special Portuguese sausage and kale instead of spinach.  Sometimes spinach gets too wilty and mushy, but kale really keeps a leafy texture and it has more flavor than spinach.  That being said, you can click on the link below for the original recipe.  This soup is one-bowl-meal kind of thing, with plenty left overs to ward off the upcoming cold fall nights.


Sweet Potato and Kielbasa Soup

(Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2007)

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked kielbasa sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large, 4 small), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale, leaves separated from stems and chopped up

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009 11:08 am

    Dear Friends, Happy haloween!!

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