Kale Soup for All Kinds of Comfort

It's ridiculously cold here. Twenty something degrees! And the thing is, it's only December. I fear January. And I'm terrified of March. (February has always been one of those easy peasy months in my mind because it's so nice and short.) Besides the hectic pace of the holiday season (interwoven with little reminders like "stop the madness and smell the roses," which is totally easier said than done), we have been struck down by some unkind stomach virus chez moi. I have two things to say on the matter: first, I'm incredibly grateful that it was only the 24 hour variety. And second, I'm so fortunate to have a babysitter who is loving and patient, good spirited and also amazing with sick kids. She didn't blink an eye when my son lost his lunch all over her. Seriously. #Feelingblessed. 

Naturally, after a bout with any kind of stomach thing, bland and basic is always best. So for my son, it was all toast and oatmeal. But the grownups need to eat too. I threw together this soup and it hit the spot. It was hearty and comforting after an exhausting day. It was warm and filling after facing the bitter cold. And it was delicious, thanks to simple ingredients. 

Simple ingredients for Kale Soup

Simple ingredients for Kale Soup

Kale Soup

4 ounces of bacon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bunch of green leafy kale, chopped
8 cups of water
1 can of navy beans (or white beans)
1 bay leaf
1 rind of parmesan
dash of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes
salt to taste

Fry the bacon in a soup pot for several minutes until the edges begin to brown. Turn off the heat, remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Leave the bacon fat in the pot. When the bacon has cooled, chop into smaller pieces and add back to the pot. Turn the heat to medium and add garlic and kale and stir. After about 2 minutes, add water, beans, bay leaf and parmesan leaf. Simmer with lid on for about 40 minutes (or longer). Add cayenne pepper and salt if desired. Enjoy! 
*Note: for a richer soup, use chicken broth instead of water and feel free to add grated parmesan when you serve soup. 

My other favorites for cold weather: 

Winter Root Vegetable Soup

Best Cold and Flu Fighter Soup

Rainy Day Carrot Soup

Easiest Black Beans



Cold and Flu Season are No Match for This Soup

I wholeheartedly believe in the connection between what we eat and how we feel. If someone has a cold coming on, I make chicken soup. Got a cough? Have a pear. Have a sore throat? Slice up some fresh ginger and add to hot water. So when cold and flu season is upon us - even before anyone gets sick, I always make loads of carrot soups. Carrots are high in beta carotene which is thought to help build a strong immune system. My son hates raw carrots but loves this soup. My daughter loves carrots in all forms so this is always a welcome item to the dinner table for her. Added bonus: carrot soups freeze beautifully. 

carrot sweet potato ginger soup.JPG

Yesterday I made a batch of carrot ginger soup and added sweet potato - a super food that is also high in beta carotene. Look here for a great list of super foods that fight colds. The news stories about this year's flu season are a little overwhelming. Nothing is fool proof, of course, and even people who eat the healthiest of diets get sick every now and then. Hopefully this easy-to-make soup and the other healthy stuff that comes out of our kitchen will provide us with some extra protection.

Carrot Soup with Ginger and Sweet Potato

1 lb carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 bunch of fresh dill
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
Juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

Add carrots, sweet potato, ginger, onion and dill to a soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and puree with a stick blender.

** For added richness, you can use chicken broth instead of water or you can add a can of great northern beans to add protein and thickness.