Before this week, I had no idea what a polar vortex was or the level of fear it could instill in me. It’s no secret I hate winter, but for the first time in my life, I was literally afraid to leave the house because of the temperature. When you wake up to find it’s three degrees outside, and the wind chill makes it actually feel like -20, panic sets in completely. The only thing I wanted to do was crawl up in front of my space heater and cry and eat soup.
This Tuscan kale and winter vegetable soup warms you from the inside out. Spicy Italian chicken sausage brings the heat and balances out the natural sweetness of parsnips and butternut squash. Tuscan or lacinato kale is slightly less bitter than regular curly kale and its delicate and lusty nature make it the perfect base for a winter stew.
Take that polar vortex!
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 medium stalk of celery
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 5 cups of cleaned and chopped Tuscan kale
- 1 pound parsnips (about 5 parsnips), peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
- 3/4 pound precooked spicy Italian Chicken sausage links ( I like the Trader Joe's brand.)
- Finely dice the carrot, celery and onion.
- Heat the olive oil in a stockpot or large saucepan.
- Add the diced carrot, celery and onion and cook over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes allowing the vegetables to develop a golden-brown color.
- Stir in the minced garlic and chopped sage and cook an additional two minutes.
- Deglaze the pan, by adding in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned vegetable bits that may have stuck to the bottom.
- Add in the chopped parsnips. Season with salt.
- Then add the kale, water, and remaining 1 3/4 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Season with salt. Raise the heat slightly.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat.
- Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the chopped butternut squash and adjust the salt level if necessary.
- Cover and cook the soup for about 30-40 minutes longer, or until the parsnips and butternut squash are fork tender (but not mushy!)
- Dice the chicken sausage links and add to the stew during the last 10 minutes of cooking.