Friday, February 13, 2009

Feature Recipe: Hearty Winter Onion and Kale Soup

My recipe this week comes from an idea after visiting the West Seattle Farmer's Market and from the need to feel cozy during cold misty winter days. The main ingredients for this soup are simple, a few onions and kale (a leafy green that is related to cabbage and is highly nutritious). Add a few homemade croutons and some shaved parmesan cheese and you'll have a hearty meal you can sit around the fire with. Ingredients in this recipe came from local farms. The onions were grown on Willie Green's Organic Farm in Monroe, WA. The kale was grown on Stoney Plains Organic Farm in Tenino, WA, and the garlic came from Scappoose, OR.
Ingredients: Onions, Kale, Garlic, Vegetable Stock, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Parsley, Butter, French Bread (Baguette), and Shaved Parmesan.
To make the soup, first caramelize the onions. Thinly slice four large onions. Place them in a large skillet over low-medium heat with 2 Tbsp butter (enough to coat the bottom of the pan). Make sure all layers are separated. Toss onions so they are well coated with butter and spread evenly on pan. Let the onions sweat, remove the moisture, but do not let them brown. Turn every 5-7 minutes. Continue until onions are a rich brown color, about 45 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with 3 Tbsp white wine or some of the vegetable stock. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, do not let burn. Add 1 quart vegetable stock. Add 5 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a simmer. Make sure kale has been washed and the leaves separated from the stems. Roughly chop. Add to soup in portions until all the kale is wilted. Add addition broth if needed. Season (salt and pepper) to taste.
To make croutons, start the oven broiler. Take baguette and cut in half. Place in broiler to lightly toast. Remove. Cut on garlic c love in half and generously rub all over bread. Cut into one inch cubes and place in large mixing bowl. Melt 2-3 tbsp butter on the stove. Add 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley and 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme to butter. Pour mixture over bread cubes. Mix until well coated. Lay bread cubes on a baking sheet and return to broiler until they are golden brown. Remove and let cool.
Scoop soup into a bowl and top with croutons. Garnish with chopped parsley and shaved parmesan.


  1. Have you found a good use for kale stems? There's so much to them, I never want to waste them. I usually try to just chop fine and hope no one notices, but it doesn't seem like that would fly with any really good recipes...

  2. You could use the kale stems in a vegetable stock. You could also finely chop them and use in a casserole, spanakopita, or in a quiche or frittata. I'd say, as long as they are cooked long enough so they become tender. If you want to incorporate the stems with the leaves, cook the stems separately and five or ten minutes before you incorporate the leaves into the dish.