Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chorizo and Kale Soup with Cornbread

I confess. After three weeks following the vegetarian way, meat-eating family and friends made it too difficult to carry on with a completely meatless diet. One of the main reasons I have never gone vegetarian before was because of the unnecessary burden it puts on other people, but I wanted to try it, and I did learn some things.

For one, meat is definitely not necessary as the centerpiece of a meal. As a sideshow, sure, if you want to go with meat at all, but this American idea of meat being the largest portion on your plate is completely bogus and actually unhealthy. Meat servings should be no larger than the palm of your hand, and the majority of your plate should consist of veggies and whole grains. I'm still going primarily meatless at home, but to make things easier on everyone, I am eating meat when out and about. I honestly never really missed meat, and I'm quite happy carrying on by myself without it.

Another thing I learned about is all the alternate (and delicious) sources of protein out there. Between beans, nuts, soy products, dairy, veggie, and numerous other sources, the average person with a balanced diet typically gets most of the protein their body needs without eating meat.

In the end, I'm happy with my decision of a semi-vegetarian. It works well for all parties involved, even if I didn't make it the whole 40 days.

Now, to the soup!

I was flipping through a gardening book a few days ago trying to absorb whatever knowledge I can on planting tomatoes (I'm going to attempt a garden this year), when I found a recipe for Chorizo and Kale Soup. Like most of North America, my nose is on the fritz from the abnormal weather and amounts of pollen, so the idea of a spicy, chicken broth-based soup sounded amazing. (For those of you who do not know, chorizo is a spicy Spanish pork sausage that has a very unique, spicy flair, and is quite tasty.) I ended up basing mine on the recipe found here.

And because my potatoes were starting to look like this. Guess you'll see a potato and leek recipe next week!
The Recipe:

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
10 oz spicy chorizo sausage, chopped
3/4 lb chopped kale, stems removed
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water

Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic and onions for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and fry for 4 minutes. Then add the stock and water (and some salt, if needed) and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the kale and simmer until tender, about 3 minutes.This is one of those soups that gets better as it sits, so get ready for leftovers!

With such a delicious, spicy, sausage-y soup, I had to make cornbread. Like, real cornbread from stone-ground cornmeal. With leftover Kerrygold Irish butter from St. Patrick's Day and farm-fresh eggs from the grandparents. Oh, momma.

If you've never had Irish butter before, it's definitely worth the splurge every now and then. I was introduced to Irish dairy products while in Ireland (go figure), and they are magical. (No pun intended) They are fresh, full of flavor, and downright amazing. I honestly never would have believed that the quality of butter could make such a huge difference, but it does.

I bought a half-pound of Kerrygold, the standard Irish butter import,  at Kroger for about $5 (told you, splurge) to compliment our St. Patrick's Day's dinner. That's it melted, the stuff that looks like several yolks exploded. Have you ever seen melted butter so golden?

The Recipe:

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk or butter milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 10-in cast iron skillet or 8 x 8 glass pan. Beat egg and milk together and add dry ingredients. Add melted butter and stir until smooth. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes.

Paired with a glass of pinot grigio, it is quite the fantastic pick-me-up dinner!

No comments :

Post a Comment