Of Colds and Lil’ Black Dresses

January 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm 13 comments

Quick and Easy Italian Soup

‘Tis the season for the sniffles…I got ‘em, you got ‘em, everyone’s got ‘em.  Misery loves company right?  Another love of those of us dogged by the flu or a cold is soup.  Nothing beats a steaming savory bowl of soup when you’re sick, or, for that matter, any other time the mercury drops below 40.  How fitting then that January is National Soup Month here in the States.

Dino Kale

Last winter I did some thematic weeks of posting, including two separate Week of Soup events.  These proved to be a very popular series here on SFTF so I know several of you love soup as much as I do.  A pot of soup gurgling on the stove is the ultimate in comfort food. Quite often, as in this particular instance, it’s incredibly healthy too, crammed full of vitamins and minerals.

Soup Prep Mosaic

But I also know there are others of you that are a bit intimidated by making homemade soup.  I have a wonderfully easy recipe to share with you today that will make even the most timid cook a quick study on stews.  Anne Bramley’s Eat Feed Autumn Winter is the source for this hearty rustic Quick & Easy Italian Soup.  As Anne does so often in the cookbook, she introduces this recipe with a keenly accurate and witty description: “This is the little black dress of the winter cooking world.  Everybody has that simple little number to throw on without much fuss.

Soup up close

It’s true!  Just like that dress (or that shirt, for you fellas) in your closet that’s the workhorse of your wardrobe and somehow still manages to always elicit at least one compliment every time you wear it, this tasty soup is very simple to make and yet ridiculously flavorful.  Dress it up or down with a few accessories – crusty chewy rolls for instance – and you’ve got yourself a soup that will take you from a quick workday lunch to a cozy romantic dinner for two. 

Soup vertical

Curious about kale?  The kind I used in this pot of soup is called “dinosaur” kale (or just “dino” for short or ‘Lacinato’ variety for those that want a more technical name) and is an old-world variety favored by Italian great-grandmothers for its flavor and texture.  I think it’s just such a beautiful green. You could use any variety of kale for this soup, but I do recommend getting the dino kale if you can find it.  If you’re kale-less all together, collards could be substituted here.  Kale of any variety is abundant in vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, calcium and good ol’ fiber.  Eat a lot of this and you’ll be sure to easily slip back into your own little black dress and beat that pesky winter cold.

Adapted from Eat Feed Autumn Winter

1 large bunch fresh kale
2 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 C. vegetable broth
14 oz. can of diced Italian herbs tomatoes
1 lb. Italian sausage (soy varieties are available)
14 oz. can of cannelloni beans, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Small pinch of cayenne

Remove the stems of kale, wash and dry.  Coarsely chop the leaves into 2 inch pieces.  In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes until it is fragrant.  Add the broth and tomatoes (and juice).  Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. 

Add the sausage and kale, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 8-10 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.  Add the beans and heat through.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. 

(serves 4-6)


Entry filed under: Recipes, Soup. Tags: , , , .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Megan  |  January 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    This looks like a great recipe and easily made vegan! How much broth do you add? Maybe this was accidentally left out of the recipe?


  • 2. Jennie  |  January 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    OH, good catch, Megan! The cold medicine is making my brain fuzzy and I skipped that line when typing in the recipe. Thanks for pointing it out! This could definitely be made vegan. Hope you’ll give it a shot! 🙂

  • 3. Chocolate Shavings  |  January 9, 2009 at 6:55 am

    That’s a real hearty-looking soup!

  • 4. Lo!  |  January 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Love the look of that soup… that lacinato kale looks fabulous!!

  • 5. Kimberly  |  January 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    We ordered Jason’s Deli for lunch yesterday and I got a side of their version of three bean salad – kidney beans, garbanzo beans and edamame. There is a little onion, some cilantro, and a few specks of yellow and red bell pepper and the dressing was something that needed a little more acid/salt to it. It got me thinking about your blog, the weeks of soups and how easily this little salad could be turned into a quick soup – vegetable stock, a little lime, garlic, basil, cilantro, a hot pepper of your choice, the beans, a yellow onion, may be some greens from some spring onions scattered across the top when it is dished up. I came here to see what you are up and it is SOUP!!!!! This looks wonderful and you are so right – there is nothing that says comfort like a bowl of soup!! Hope you get to feeling better.

  • 6. A. Woz  |  January 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Feel better soon!
    have some soup…I hear that does wonders for colds!
    I have to ask, is there a story about the soup bowl featured in your photo? My friend Karin always has stories about her china, or the tea cup or the silverware she is using for her dinner guests…Surely there is a history of this one?
    A. Woz.

  • 7. joythebaker  |  January 9, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    This looks like a totally painless way to get a giant dose of kale. Just lovely!

  • 8. Jennie  |  January 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Kim – Your comments are always so fun! I love the detail. And you’re right, that bean salad would be great as a soup! Did you know I have a tasty little three bean salad recipe here on the blog….in case you want to give it a whurl: http://straightfromthefarm.net/2008/07/29/three-bean-salad-recipe/

    ps – your tea should be arriving shortly! 🙂

  • 9. Jennie  |  January 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Annita – You’re so observant. Of course such an unusual bowl/mug has a great story to it. 🙂 I purchased this white handmade ceramic bowl-meets-mug from a small artists colony in western Ireland somewhere near Lisdoonvarna on the edge of the bogs there. I was doing a solo bike tour around there for a week in 1998 when I got purposefully lost (okay, I was just plain lost, but sometimes I like being lost when I’m touring on my bike) and couldn’t find a room in any of the village B&Bs at the end of the day. I headed down a small rural road on blind faith, following a handpainted sign for “rooms” and came to find the most unexpected and quirky place full of musicians and artists growing their own food and renting an occasional room to a wayward traveler. It was one of the best places I’ve ever stayed and I had to take away a piece of their work to remember them by and I’ve cherished it ever since. 🙂 My only regret is that I have absolutely no idea how to find that place again; from what I can tell it was a trick of the fairies to reveal that road to me as I was never able to find it on a map afterward…

  • 10. Jennie  |  January 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Joy – you are absolutely right! This is an extremely easy way to get some kale into your diet!

  • 11. Arika  |  January 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I made this soup this afternoon and LOVED it. I posted about it on my blog, I will definitely be making this again and again!
    My Yummy Life

  • 12. Jennie  |  January 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Wonderful, Arika! I see you used spinach instead of kale. Good to know that’s as tasty too! 🙂

  • 13. kenji otsuka  |  February 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    i saw your kales with white flowers.are they galega kales that i have?


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