On a foodie level, this time of the year is a little bitter sweet. While I am ready to say goodbye to the long, cold winter, I am hesitant to say goodbye to my fall and winter cooking. My dinged up, decades old stock pot receives plenty of love and use over the course of those six months. So many hearty, heart-warming, slow-cooked soups, sauces, and family favorites have emerged from it. Their scents have filled our home and taken the chill from the air. They’ve put the comfort in food.
But, it is time to transition to the freshness of the spring and summer, where the readiness of the garden dictates our menu for the evening. Where healthy is so easy and so delicious. Where simplicity makes food shine. I do love this foodie season as well.
Typically around Easter I have one last hurrah with my stock pot. Call it a “say goodbye to winter” type meal. I usually serve a ham on Easter and am always eager to harness all of the goodness bound up within those bones to make an incredible soup.
The recipe that follows is one of our favorites. It is full of so much that is good for you: over a pound of both swiss chard and kale. When’s the last time you got your kids to eat anything with a two pounds of greens in it? This recipe may do just that.
As with most things, this soup is best when you give it time. The longer you allow the ham bone to simmer in the broth, the more flavor that will be imparted. While a minimum of two hours is recommended below, if you have more time, give it more time.
This soup is a hearty, thick soup that is chock full of ingredients. If you would prefer a soup with a bit more broth, feel free to add more broth to the mix.
One last note about the sausage. If using pork sausage it is imperative that you drain the cooked sausage thoroughly. Instead of pork sausage, you could certainly use chicken or turkey sausage as well (but nothing really compares to raw, pork sausage in this recipe).
Sausage, Swiss Chard & Kale Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
serves 6-8 (hefty bowls)
2 – 32 oz cartons organic chicken broth
2 cups diced onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 pound carrots, sliced into 1/4″ thick coins
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced russet potato
1 & 1/4 pound rainbow Swiss chard
15 oz can small white beans, drained, rinsed
28 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes packed in puree with basil
1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 pound sausage, casing removed
3/4 pound lacinato (flat leaf) kale
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
Smoked Ham Bones
Place the broth into a large pot. Place a ham bone or smoked pork bones into the broth. Bring up to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. Strain the liquid. Discard the bones.
Place the diced onion, garlic, and carrots into a large pot along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Separate the chard leaves from the center stem. Set the leaves aside. Slice the thick stems into 1/4″ thick pieces. Add to the pot. Saute for 5 minutes being sure to stir frequently.
Add the reserved broth into the pot with the vegetables. Stir in the diced potato, white beans, crushed tomatoes, and brown rice. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Remove the meat from the casings. In a skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat. During the cooking process breakdown the sausage into crumbles using a spatula. Cook through. Drain the sausage. Thoroughly drain to remove as much fat as possible. Add the sausage to the soup.
Chop the Swiss chard leaves. Add to the soup.
Trim the bottom inch from the kale stems. Discard. Chop the kale (with stems). Add to the soup along with the Italian seasoning. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper according to your personal taste. I added no salt to this soup. There was sufficient salt in the broth and ham bones to adequately season the soup. If additional salt is needed, add in using small amounts such as 1/8 teaspoon at a time.