Posted by: A Part of the Solution | June 17, 2010

Soup of the Evening, Kailyard Style

In Scotland, kale is a vital part of the homegrown vegetable scene. So much so that a common term for the vegetable garden there is kailyard. And if you’re not feeling up to eating much, you’re ‘off your kale’. I hardly ever have that problem. Kale is key for me.

I like kale for its iron content. I like kale for its protein volume and amino acids. I like kale for its antioxidants. And I like kale for its taste and texture and color in food. I enjoy bitter foods like coffee, chocolate, ginger–and kale. They add so much to a really well-rounded meal.

Happily, kale is one of those humble veggies ready to go anywhere and do anything necessary to make it onto the plate or bowl in any meal of the day you might name. It plays well with the allium family: onions, garlic, ramps, shallots, leeks, chives &tc. It keeps company with bland beans and lentils, and bucks them up enough to make one’s palate feel replete having consumed a dish combining the two.

This is a wonderful soup using lots of kale. It’s a one-dish meal, if you want it to be. It has vegan and omnivore versions–both are just outstanding. It’s ingredient list is pretty minimal. And it doesn’t take a whole hour from scratch. What more could you ask of such a supreme soup?

Kailyard Treasure

1 bunch kale–any type, ribbed and chopped into 3/4 inch squares

12 oz potatoes, skinned and cubed on the large side

1 large onion, chopped

1 TBSP vegetable oil

1 can any white beans (cannellini, navy, black-eyed pea) drained, or 8 oz frozen baby limas, or 1/2 lb. hot Italian link sausage–removed from its casing

1 quart vegetable stock or chicken stock

2 TBSP mild hot sauce, or 1 tsp hot asian

Soy sauce, or salt, or aminos to taste

[optional] 1/2 cup cream

Put the potatoes in a small sauce pan, with water to cover them. Put the lid on, bring them to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, if using sausage crumble it up and cook it until the pink is gone and it’s browning. Remove it from the pan and let it drain. Saute the chopped onion in your medium sized soup pan. Once the onion is translucent, add the beans (or sausage if using) and the kale. Cook this at medium for five minutes so that the kale is more than halfway wilted.

Add the potatoes, their cooking water and the stock. Simmer another five minutes or so. Before serving, finish with the hot sauce, soy sauce/aminos/salt, and the cream (if using)–and leave the hot sauce bottle on the table for more adventurous eaters.

This is the seasoning I saute with the onion when I want ‘sausage’ spicing for my beans:

In a spice grinder (my ‘other’ coffee grinder):

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

5 whole juniper berries

5 whole allspice berries

1 whole clove

1/2 tsp fennel seeds



  1. Sounds verra appetizing, hon.

    • I served it again last night to our company, and they loved it too.

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