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Kale and potato soup with red chili

I love the heartiness of kale, it has a lovely flavour and is super nutritious. Due to the toughness of the leaves, the vegetable is generally used in stews, slow, braised or soups, like in this recipe.

Kale and potato soup is a very old recipe with many variations, particularly in the deep South of the US where it is cooked with ham hocks or bacon. But here is a lovely vegan version that pops on the palate with the chilli. The soup is delicate with green flavours and a light lingering spice in the after palate. I like to serve it quite smooth with just a touch of texture and a light drizzle of cream or creme fraîche for creaminess. Most folks turn their nose away from kale, but this soup was a hit with the guests. This is a soup I will make often.

Deborah Madison was one of the first chefs to embrace the farm-to-table movement when she opened her restaurant Greens, one I have dined at a few times. Her cookbooks are lovely, and this one, in particular, is amazing. Simple recipes that are loaded with flavour. Like me, you should get all her cookbooks, each is a masterpiece!

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1-2 dried or fresh red chillies, chopped. Deseed the chillies for a milder spice.

1 bay leaf

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes

7 cups water or stock of your choice

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Creme fraîche or cream, to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion, garlic and red chillies. Sautè on low heat for 3-4 minutes till the onions are soft and translucent. Do not colour the onions.

Add the potatoes and bay leaf and cook for 5 more minutes till the potatoes are no longer raw. Add the kale, stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 45 minutes till the potatoes have begun to disintegrate and the kale is very soft.

You can now serve the soup in a few ways. If you like it chunky serve it as is. If you like it smooth purèe the soup till very smooth. I like to purèe about 80% of the solids and keep 20% as is for a smooth-ish soup with some texture. But you should feel free to taste and experiment.

Serve hot with a light drizzle of creme fraîche or cream.

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