Monday, May 26, 2008

What's for dinner this week?

There's something about a pot of kale simmered in hot broth that makes me expect to find cannellini and tender bits of sausage waiting for me at the bottom. However, last night's Portuguese Green Soup had neither beans nor sausage. It did, however, feature mashed red potatoes that thickened the liqueur of the soup nicely (silky-smooth!), as well as a chopped onion and some fresh garlic (my addition). Oh yes ... and a few drops of hickory smoke flavor snuck into the recipe, too.

The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, but I figure I need more oil in my life like I need a hole in my head. And instead of water, I used what I found in my fridge: some beef stock and lots of chicken broth, topped off with water. I was very pleased with how my version came out!

Gina's Portuguese Green Soup
(Adapted from Faye Levy's International Vegetable Cookbook)
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer

1-1/4 lb. boiling potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
5 cups beef stock, chicken broth, or water
Salt & freshly ground pepper
3/4 lb. kale, stalks discarded, leaves rinsed well
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hickory smoke flavoring

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes with the liquid of choice and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes or until very tender.

Meanwhile, pile kale leaves on a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, shred the kale leaves in crosswise strips as thin as possible.

With a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a bowl. Mash 'em with a hand masher. The skins will mostly stick to the masher, leaving you with mostly mashed potato - add just the potato to the cooking liquid.

Just before serving, bring soup to a boil, stirring. Scoop out the remaining skins from the pot. Add onion, garlic and kale. Boil uncovered over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until kale has reduced in volume and is crisp-tender. Add smoke flavor to taste; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.