Spicy Kale, Chorizo and Squash Soup
It’s getting cold here. They’re predicting snow flurries tonight!
And I’m not complaining. A lot of people bemoan the return of cold weather, but honestly, I don’t know why you’d choose to live in upstate New York if you didn’t like at least some measure of cold, frosty weather — it’s hard to escape it here. I relish it: I love the cold snap to the air in the mornings when I go out to take a walk, the shock of the chill searing through my nose as I take my first deep breath. I love the smell of a wood-burning stove wafting through the chill, mixed with the pungent, sweet aroma of fallen leaves. I love donning a scarf and maybe a light hat to go outside, and replacing the brighter colors of my summer wardrobe with the jewel tones of my fall clothes — deep turquoise, eggplant, chocolate, rust, emerald. I love sleeping under layers upon layers of puffy blankets, ensconced in my warm cocoon as my nose chills in the cooler air of the house overnight. I love wrapping my hands around a steaming mug of hot chocolate, or tea, or coffee…or, equally so, a big bowl of steaming hot soup.
In fact, soup is probably one of my very, very favorite parts of this time of year. I’ve been in a soup-making frenzy lately, making extra big batches so that I can freeze a little extra in our (shiny! new!) chest freezer in preparation for those sleep-deprived days coming in December and January, when our lives will revolve around our little newborn. We’ve had multiple batches of chili, roasted squash & fennel soup, lentil soup with greens, minestrone, pinto & black bean stew…and most recently, this spicy kale, chorizo and squash soup.
It was actually a great way to use a number of ingredients we’d recently received in our CSA share — red kuri squash, onions, and garlic — along with dinosaur kale that I’d picked up at the Farmer’s Market and chorizo from The Piggery. The soup is a variation on the Portuguese soup caldo verde, which is traditionally made with potatoes, kale, onions and chorizo. I substituted the winter squash for the potatoes, adding a mildly sweet note to counteract the spiciness of the chorizo. It’s a warming bowl, inside and out.
Since I’m in soup-making mode and trying to stockpile a bunch before December, I’d love to know — what’s your favorite soup recipe (and would you care to share a link?) :)
Spicy Kale, Chorizo and Squash Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit
This soup is fantastic served with some crusty bread alongside.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 ounces chorizo sausage, casing removed (if you’re using fully cooked chorizo, dice it before adding it to the soup)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 pounds winter squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Butternut, Red Kuri or Buttercup are good varieties to use)
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds kale, stemmed, torn and chopped into small pieces or ribbons (about 2 small to medium bunches)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the chorizo and the smoked paprika; cook until the chorizo is no longer pink (if using raw chorizo – if using fully cooked chorizo, just cook 1-2 minutes until the paprika is toasted.)
Add the cubes of winter squash, the chicken broth, and the kale. Stir until the kale wilts down a little into the soup, and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for about 30 minutes, until the squash and kale is tender. Taste and add salt and pepper according to your taste.