I don’t know about you, but when the weather gets the slightest bit cold I crave soup. Especially wholesome and hearty soup that is full of all the healthy things. Like kale and brown rice, and mushrooms and carrots.
My daughter, a SoCal native, is particularly sensitive to the cold and says that anything under 72 degrees is “xx below.” For example, 66 degrees is 6 below. I know what you’re thinking — that we are clueless pansies. You’re not wrong.
But our general weakness when it comes to the chill means we get to bundle up in sweaters and scarves and boots and hats and coats when the rest of you thickbloods would be wearing shorts and tank tops. It means that when we leave the windows open all night we get to light a fire in the fireplace. And then later we turn on the A/C. SoCal problems…
Autumn, no matter where you live, brings a return to the comforts of home. And for me it means more time spent in the kitchen. Since I work full time, my mornings are often rushed and packing a lunch is a chore. So that’s where a big batch of hearty soup comes in.
Sunday mornings call for a visit to the farmers market, and Sunday afternoons are spent roasting chickens, baking bread and making soup. I always make enough for several lunches during the week.
I love this very versatile soup, if possible, made with homemade chicken bone broth. If you start with a great stock, your soup will be amazing no matter what you put into it. Last weekend’s version included sautéed carrots, celery and mushrooms, spicy chicken sausage, a huge pile of chopped kale and some brown rice. It’s naturally gluten-free and totally filling. I have a feeling this will be on the menu a lot this fall and winter. Because when it’s 6 below, you need a healthy and hearty soup to help keep you warm. Right?
- 1 pound of uncooked, gluten-free spicy chicken Italian sausage links
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, thinly slivered
- 3 stalks of celery, sliced
- 3 large carrots, sliced
- 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
- 2 large bunches of kale, rinsed well and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I leave the stems on but you can remove them if you prefer)
- 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (or bone broth of your choice)
- A handful of mixed, minced fresh herbs (I used thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary)
- 2 cups of cooked brown rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle some olive oil, about a tablespoon, in a large stockpot and place over medium heat. Pinch small lumps of sausage out of the casing to make small meatballs and add to the hot oil. Brown on all sides and remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms to the pan and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the veggies begin to soften.
- Return the sausage to the pan and add the kale, stock and minced herbs. It will seem like a lot of kale, but it will shrink. Bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the kale is tender. Stir in the cooked brown rice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.