Homemaking: Kale Soup, for Mom

Each time I made this soup, I thought, “Mom would love this.”  But since we’re too far away to deliver soup, I decided to document the process.

It’s incredibly simple, and absolutely customizable.  I craved this soup about three times a week for a month during the first trimester. (I’ve since moved on to salads with feta and avocado. Oh! Do you know that feta and avocado together taste like bacon? I would eat it all day if I could. And lettuce too. If we had a garden, I would have devoured it already.)

Most of the time, we didn’t have mushrooms. Sometimes I didn’t add carrots and/or onion. Sometimes I skipped the cabbage. Basically, I would have been happy with  chicken broth, soy sauce and kale, but (surprisingly) the process of cooking at the stove helped with my nausea.

Mom has been concerned about my eating — I’ve admitted to the chocolate and ice cream and ballpark nachos and maybe an excess of dairy — but most of my big meals are homemade goodness,with fresh organic fruits and vegetables, good grains, hormone-free meat.  I eat my chocolate (dark dark chocolate!).  But I eat my kale too.

This soup — I am a quick chopper, so I start cooking as soon as I have the onions chopped. If you’re slower with a knife, chop everything ahead.  This version made a super big pot, but for just a couple bowls, divide by four.

  1. Finely chop 1/2 onion. Throw in soup pot with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Stir to coat. Cook at medium heat for a couple minutes.

    Saute onions in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt.

  2. Chop 2 carrots into your favorite shapes (this was about 1 and 1/2 cups). Add to onions with a small sprinkle of salt. Continue to cook, and stir every minute or so.

    Add the carrots and a sprinkle of salt.

  3. Slice mushrooms to your liking (I added 2 cups).  Add to onions and carrots. Cook until the mushrooms start to soften.

    Mushrooms to the carrots and onions.

  4. If you’re going to add fresh garlic, do it now. 2 cloves would be delightful. I like pressed garlic because I’m lazy and would rather wash the press than chop garlic.  At the time of this soup-making, I had an aversion to fresh garlic, but was fine with garlic powder.  (A sprinkling was enough for me.)
  5. Slice cabbage (1 cup). Add to pot. Continue to stir.

    Sliced cabbage to the other vegetables.

  6. Tear up kale into smaller pieces, discarding woody stem (I like to strip the leaves off the stem in one smooth swipe, like pulling off the seeds of that weedy wheat-like grass as a kid).   This was 8 cups. Add to pot.  Stir and let heat for a moment.

    Add the kale and stir it around.

  7. Add 3 pints chicken or veggie broth (6 cups) and  2 and 1/2 pints (5 cups) water. (Yes, I am measuring in pints. Sorry. It’s just that we freeze chicken broth in pint jars, and then I use the jars to measure the water.)

    Add broth and water and bring to simmer.

    Bring to simmer while adding the following:

    • 7 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce (this is 3 and 1/2 ounces, or almost a half cup)
    • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
    • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
    • 1/8 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes or more to taste (you could use chile oil instead)
    • Black pepper and salt to taste(if you happen to be me in the first trimester, add more salt)

    Finished soup with seasonings.

  8. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Eat.


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