Being that a huge majority of our family is back east, it is hard not to see the weather they are experiencing and wonder: How did we get so lucky? My Aunt and Uncle are in Massachusetts and when I spoke with them this week they said they have four foot snow drifts. (You read that right, four feet!) I could not help but chuckle as my aunt said to me, “I never remember paying someone so much in one month to help us remove all this snow!” As always I said to them you can always visit Seattle, it has been partially sunny and in the 50’s all week. When I spoke with my parents and in-laws (both in N.J.) they explained how bitter cold it is, but they have hoped it will warm up a bit. By warm up I know they mean anything other than the 5 degrees it was will be better. This all got me to thinking, when Brian and I were looking to relocate and start over again 5 five years ago we canvased the entire country. We played out all our options. We compared job opportunities - city life - culture - price of rent, and last but most importantly - weather! After discussing options in Chicago, Boston, New York, or Philadelphia; we both came to the assumption that we did not have any aspirations to deal with another east coast winter. That is how we got lucky.
We somehow knew that anywhere from San Francisco and north of there would be good for us. I know as crazy as it may sound, when we weighted out the sides it basically came down to either the harsh east coast winter verse the seldom chance of an earth quake. Yes, you guessed it. Slight chance of earth quake won…Did I mention that we like to live on the edge just a bit?
As I was thinking of all of our family and how chilly they might be, I made a soup that I wish I could share with all of them. It was a hearty bean, potato, and kale soup that you stir browned chorizo into when you plate it. I knew that if anything could warm any of them up this soup would be it! As we ate it we felt all warm and cozy, like we were wrapped up in a cozy knit blanket. I served it with some crusty bread and manchego cheese that paired perfectly. In my opinion this soup was so good it could make anything more tolerable, be it four foot snow drifts or single digit temperatures. This soup was so good I might just go back to the market to get more kale so I can make it again this week. To all my family and friend on the east coast: bundle up, stay warm, and eat soup.
Potato, Kale, and Bean Soup with Chorizo (serves 6)
**Note: Spanish Chorizo is a bit more mild in spice than that of Mexican Chorizo. If you like a bolder, more spiced flavor feel free to substitute one for the other. Or you can serve the soup with your favorite hot sauce, and you can add the amount of spice that you like.
3 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (washed well)
3 cups diced russet potato (peeled)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups small chopped kale, stems and ribs removed
1 can butter beans (15 oz), rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4-6 links of Spanish chorizo, casing removed and chopped
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
sea salt and black pepper to taste
First, place a large pot over medium heat and warm through. Add two tbsp of olive oil to the pot and warm up. Add your leeks and let them simmer until softened, stirring them often.
Next, once your leeks are wilted add the potato and stir to mix it all together. Add the thyme and cover with the stock and bring it all to a simmer. Let it simmer until your potatoes are tender and about to fall apart when pressed against the side of the pot.
Then, add in the beans and kale to the pot and bring a simmer again. Do not let it boil and reduce it’s liquid too much, if so you can add a bit of water to the pot to keep it soupy and not too thick.
Meanwhile, place a large nonstick pan over high heat. Add your remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is heated through add your chorizo (a bit at a time) and let it sizzle and stir often. Once the chorizo is browned, remove from the pan and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all the chorizo is cooked.
Finally, when the potatoes have broken down a bit and the kale is soft your soup is ready. Season it with sea salt and black pepper to taste and serve. Ladle the soup into your bowls and spoon in the chorizo and enjoy.