Hearty Kale Soup

This is a good one for when you’ve forgotten about your kale and find it limp and sad-looking in the back of the fridge. It’s also great with fresh kale. The amounts here are mostly to get you started; like most soups it’s beautifully flexible. I used what I happened to have on hand, and it came out great.

INGREDIENTS

  • a lot of kale (1 big bunch) de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 cans of white beans beans, something like great northern or cannellini (depending on how much you like beans)
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • small head of garlic, or 3 large cloves, peeled and smashed (no need to dice)
  • 2qts + 5 cups (as needed) chicken or vegetable stock (you can use part water, too, but it’s not as flavorful)
  • 1 lb cooked pasta (tortellini is nice)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chunk of parmesan (1″ square), rind is best
  • olive oil
  • chopped fresh herbs to taste (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are nice here)
  • salt, pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Sautee the diced onion with a bit of salt and the chopped herbs in olive oil until the onions are soft but not mushy.
  • Drain the beans and toss them in with the onions. Add the diced potato as well. Sautee for a few minutes, mixing well.
  • Put in the 2qts of stock, throw in the smashed garlic cloves and parmesan rind. This is a good place to add a bay leaf if you like. Simmer on med-low until the potatoes are softish.
  • While the soup is simmering, boil the pasta until it’s just underdone. Set aside. You can put the pasta right in the soup to cook, but I’ve never had good luck with that.
  • When the potatoes are softish (just before perfect), stir in the chopped kale. Stir regularly until the kale has totally wilted. Add the chopped tomatoes and the pasta, and stir until well mixed. 
  • If needed, add additional stock until you get a liquid level you like. If you have too much liquid, add another can of beans or more chopped kale.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and continue to simmer until the pasta is done to your liking and all ingredients are hot. 
  • Serve immediately with grated cheese on top and garlic toast on the side, or keep for later – it doesn’t freeze well, but will actually taste better after a day in the fridge, especially if you slightly undercooked the potatoes.

Also, if you’re wondering what to do with those white salad turnips, here are some ideas:

Japanese Turnips with Miso: Serves 4
from Gourmet Magazine, 2009
 
3 Tablespoons Miso
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
3 lbs small japanese turnips (hakurei) with greens
1 1/3 Cups water
2 Tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
 
Directions
1) Stir together miso and 2 Tablespoon butter.
2) Coarsely chop leaves. Halve turnips (leave whole if tiny) and put in a 12-inch heavy skillet along with water, mirin, remaining tablespoon of butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then boil, covered, 10 minutes.
3) Add greens by handfuls, turning and stirring and adding more as volume decreases. Cover and cook 1 minute.
4) Uncover and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze. Stir in miso butter and cook 1 minute.
.
Hakurei Turnip Gratin: Serves 4
 
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Bunch Turnips, tailed and topped (save tops for next recipe)
1 teaspoon dry thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
 
Directions
1) Slice turnips into 1/4 inch thick slices (do not peel).
2) Melt butter in non-stick skillet and layer slices in the pan
3) Sprinkle the turnips with the herbs and cook 3 minutes over medium heat
4) Add cream and stock, cover and cook 20 minutes over medium heat until turnips are cooked.
5) Remove the cover and cook additional 5-10 minutes to reduce liquid
6) Sprinkle parmesan on top and serve.
.
And last but not least:

Glazed Hakurei Turnips

Bon Appétit  | November 2011
Hakurei turnips are a small, delicately flavored Japanese variety that will win over even the harshest turnip critic. If you can’t find them, use another small turnip like the Tokyo, or substitute with red radishes. Lo advocates using the whole turnip, from bitter, leafy-green tops to sweet roots.
 

ingredients

  • 3 bunches baby hakurei turnips, baby turnips, or red radishes (about 2 pounds), trimmed, greens reserved
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt

preparation

Place turnips in a large skillet; add water to cover turnips halfway. Add butter, sugar, and a large pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy and turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. (if turnips are tender before liquid has reduced, use a slotted spoon to transfer turnips to a plate and reduce liquid until syrupy. Return turnips to pan and stir to coat well.) DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before continuing.Add turnip greens to skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt.

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