After having had so many special meals over Christmas and New Year’s
we wanted to come up with a simple yet satisfying supper on New Year’s
day. Remembering that we still had some leeks braving the cold out in our
almost barren gardens we decided on a potato leek soup, homemade bread
and a hearty salad. Since there was also some kale fighting for
survival out there why not add that to the soup making it even
healthier and giving it yet another dimension?
Our decision turned out to be a good one and everyone enjoyed it! They especially
appreciated its being light as well as very flavorful and heart-
warming,(the flavor was even better the next day) so when we make
it again I will suggest we make it a day or two before actually serving it.
We garnished it with a dollop of sour cream and chopped kale. A few bacon bits
or curls, if desired, could also add to its look and flavor.
*Whether you get your leeks from your garden or your grocery store it is important
to wash them ever so thoroughly because they often have soil hidden between the leaves
at their stems.
- Heat the oil in a large (6-plus quart) stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek and potato and kale . Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften and brown slightly, about 8 to 12 minutes (this time will vary greatly depending on the surface area of the bottom of your pot).
- Add the vegetable stock and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
- Add the cream, and season to taste with salt (I start with 1 teaspoon and go from there, tasting frequently) and lemon juice and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a healthy sprinkling of kale or bacon bits.
For more than a year now, kale has succeeded in holding the titled “prima dona” position of most nutritious vegetable in the current food world. At the moment, no other vegetable has stepped into that position to replace it. Whether one has acquired a taste for kale or just has a natural appetite or appreciation for it, the fact remains that this versatile green is such a rich source of so many valuable nutrients, surpassing even Popeye’s proverbial spinach.
I think it’s obvious that I’m a kale enthusiast and I enjoy it prepared in many different ways. However the first time I heard that kale salad was going to be on the convent dinner menu, I had strong reservations about eating it uncooked and did not look forward to it. When others who sampled it before me started exclaiming over it I was curious to give it a try. One taste led to another and before I knew it I had joined those singing its praise.
The very next day I experimented with my own version of the dish and was amazed at the variations that were possible with this hearty winter salad. Try having fun with it yourself and see what interesting versions you can come up with.
- Pour dressing over 1 bunch (4 cups) finely chopped kale
- Toss well and let set for an hour or two or overnight.
- Stir in desired amount of fruits and vegetables of your choice. I
started off with roasted beets and butternut squash, walnuts and
pomegranate seeds and craisins and liked this combination. The next
time I varied it with fresh raspberries, chopped apples and bacon bits.
Experiment and do whatever combination you most prefer.