Friday, January 9, 2009

Kale and Apple Soup

A few days ago I wanted something warm and comforting. It's getting warm here again, but the nights are cold and since my apartment gets like, no light, I am always bundled up and looking for warm foods to eat at night. I had a head of kale and a Granny Smith apple left from the farmers market so I decided to defrost some bacon (yes, I freeze bacon and I had no pancetta on hand) and make this soup. I think the original recipe wants you to use a sweeter apple so I added a sprinkle of sugar. I was a little turned off at the thought of crushing the bacon in the blender with the finished soup so I fished it out after it was cooked to just leave the fat to cook the kale in. A smarter person would have reserved that cooked bacon for garnish, but I just ate it. So much for resolutions! :) This was a really good soup, and surprisingly fresh tasting given the bacon fat, but I thought it was missing a little something. Perhaps it was the lack of sweetness from the apple, or maybe it needed more apple flavor. I think next time I try this, I will use a sweeter apple and maybe caramelize the onions.

Kale and Apple Soup
(From The Kitchn)

4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large bunch kale
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium apple, cored and chopped
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup crème frîache, mascarpone cheese, or plain yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper (optional, I forgot)

Wash the kale and remove the bottom 1" of stem. Chop roughly into 1" pieces.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sautée the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on towels to drain.

Add the kale and stir to coat with rendered fat. Add a glug or olive oil if bacon didn't render much fat and kale sticks to pan. Cook, stirring, until kale begins to wilt. Add 2 cups chicken stock, lower heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture to blender, reserving some as a second batch if blender jar is more than 1/2 full.

In the same skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onions with salt until just barely showing color. Add chopped apples and some sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until apples soften and onions are translucent.

Transfer mixture to blender, reserving half if you reserved half of the kale mixture earlier. If working in two batches, add half the remaining chicken stock (1 cup), cover and puree until smooth. If working in one batch, add all the remaining stock and puree until smooth. When working with hot liquids in a blender, it's wise to hold down the lid with a kitchen towel in case some liquid escapes when the motor is engaged.

If soup seems too thick, add more stock is available, or water until it reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with a dollop of crème frîache, mascarpone cheese, or plain yogurt and a few grinds of black pepper.

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Sharon said...

I made kale for the first time last night and we're obsessed! It'll be good to have new recipes to add to the arsenal and this soup sounds tasty.

Joie de vivre said...

I would have never put those flavors together but it looks great! Pancetta makes everything good doesn't it?

Unknown said...

interesting pairing :)

Andrea said...

Well I do not live in an area where it's getting warmer. It's so cold, even my dog doesn't really want to go out anymore (don't worry, I still make her). I'm going to try to use my greens this winter, though, and I really love the sound of this soup. Plus, that green color (my favorite color, by the way) brings back memories of summer.

Reeni said...

I think it looks beautiful and sounds quite good. I have discovered that sometimes apples work where you would of never thought to add them. And I just bought Kale yesterday and a huge bag of apples.

Esi said...

Sharon, I LOVE kale. It's one of my favorite vegetables.

Andrea, sorry about the cold. If it makes you feel any better it is going to be about 80 here tomorrow (that probably doesn't make you feel better, lol)

I just had some of the leftovers of this for lunch. It's best when served really hot I think, but really good after a couple of days still.

Amira said...

wow kale & apple soup that is so creative & delish sounding!

Erica said...

You always make the most unique and pretty dishes! I'm sorry you have 2 hrs of work left :( Sounds like you have a hot night of laundry planned though ;). Our Friday nights have a tendency to be lame because we're both always so tired haha. Josh is working on his MBA homework right now. Whooo hoo!

Heather said...

mmmm. kale and bacon!! what a wonderful combo. and i love that you added the granny smith apples. i wouldn't have thought of that. it sounds so good!

Leslie said...

I have never had kale before, but uyour soup looks comforting!

pigpigscorner said...

Kale and apple sounds interesting! Looks delicious.

Diana said...

What an interesting recipe! I would never think to make a pureed kale soup, but think it might be worth a try!

Does bacon freeze well?

Esi said...

Diana, bacon freezes really well. I usually buy two packs at a time so I just have it on hand when I need it. To thaw it, I just move it to the fridge overnight. I learned from my mom! :)

Selba said...

Wow... apple soup? that's new to me... Must give it a try :)