Oh, my…Old Man Winter is certainly digging his heels firmly into the frozen and snow-covered earth this month and doesn’t want to be evicted by the Spring faeries. Much as I’d love for the faeries to take over instantaneously, the reality is, in much of the country, the weather will be ranging from chilly to frigid. And what better way to counteract that than with a steaming, colorful bowl of homemade soup.
As a fan of Paleo cooking, I’m quite enamored with potatoes of every variety. They’re grounding, nourishing, and just plain comforting and good-tasting. As a fan of maintaining my 180-pound weight loss and my overall good health, I choose to be careful and particular how I prepare potatoes. Their danger-factor can increase significantly if fried or drowned in butter. This soup is a way to enjoy their velvety goodness with minimal processing or pesky excess of fat.
Kale for me has been another matter. I don’t love it as ardently as I do the potato, but I find ways to consume it that are enjoyable. Soups are one of my favorite ways because the simmering and blitzing in the Vitamix transmutes their tangly, rough texture into something user-friendly. The result is a smooth, nutritious, fabulously warm salad-in-a-bowl – enjoy!
1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed
2 pounds potatoes, washed and cut in chunks (I like Yukon gold, but use whatever variety you prefer)
1 head celery, washed and cut into 3-4 inch sticks
4 quarts chicken stock
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 head garlic * peeled
3 large Vidalia onions, sliced into thick rings
* For an extra kick, reserve 3-4 cloves from the head of garlic and use it raw.
Light olive oil or grapeseed oil for baking
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat stock in a large stockpot on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and add potatoes, kale, and celery. Turn heat down to medium, cover, and let simmer until potatoes are fork-tender (at least 20 minutes).
While soup is simmering, pour enough oil on a shallow baking sheet (with sides) to generously cover the bottom of the pan. Place onion rings and garlic cloves in the pan, distribute evenly, and bake for 20-30 minutes, until they just begin to brown.
When potatoes are done, remove from heat and let sit covered until the onions and garlic are done. Scrape onions, garlic, and remaining oil in the baking pan into the stockpot. Add raw garlic cloves (if you desire), fennel, coriander, and cumin to the pot. Stir with a large wooden spoon to blend all ingredients.
Blend soup in batches in a Vitamix or blender. Return to the stove and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly warm. Serve immediately. Makes a great appetizer or light dinner. Soup also freezes well.
Stacey Morris is a Loudonville-based cookbook author, yoga instructor, and health coach. She’ll be doing a healthy cooking demo on Saturday March 24 at Honest Weight Food Coop in Albany. The demo is free but pre-registration is required by visiting: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shrimp-and-grits-a-healthy-makeover-with-stacey-morris-and-chef-bill-tickets-43314299235.