Tag Archives: kale

A Different Take on Kielbasa Stew

I have posted on kielbasa stew/soup before. I have stated before that it is a staple around our house. I have never been able to grasp the delicious richness, the depth of flavor that I achieved the first time I made it. I still did not achieve that today, but I got closer and somewhere different today. Part of that is getting our kielbasa from Shopper’s Corner (http://www.shopperscorner.com/).

The Sausage

I’m not sure what bargain Shopper’s Corner made with the Devil, but they have the most amazing steaks, tri-tips, and sausages. According to their website they are:

Shopper’s is one of the last old-time meat markets around, staffed with highly-skilled and entertaining butchers.

We get fresh local fish 7 days-a-week, sell only ultra-fresh USDA Choice and Prime-grade beef, and boast a large selection of sausages, pre-soaked meats for BBQs, and specialty cuts.

Their kielbasa packs a spiced up, fatty punch very different from the rubbery, Vienna sausage on steroid crap you get from Hillshire Farms or the watered down, mealy kielbasa that Wholefoods shills out. I’m not sure if this is how they make it in Poland, but it is one of my favorite sausages. And just to let you know, Shopper’s Corner is located in Santa Cruz so you can enjoy the redwoods, beaches, and delicious MEAT in one place.

Dice the kielbasa up and put it in the soup as the last ingredient along with the kale.

The Vegetables

This time around I left out the parsnips because they were incredibly water and of terrible quality the last time I made this soup. We picked up some lovely pre-historic looking and appropriately named Dino kale at Shopper’s Corner. If you’re not familiar with kale, it is

Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleraceaAcephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

It can be used in soups, salads, or anywhere you have cooked greens. I was surprised that I like it because I usually hate cooked greens. I find them slimy and mushy, but these were tender and decidedly not mucous like.

The kale was joined by chopped baby carrots, baby new potatoes, half a yellow onion, and a head of garlic. Chop the onions and garlic up first and cook in olive oil first. Then chop the baby carrots and potatoes and add to the onion/garlic mixture. After letting these cook for about twenty minutes, add the chopped kale and kielbasa.

The Liquid

I was lacking stock today. I usually have some stock floating around in the back of my pantry, vegetable, chicken, beef, sometimes fish, but today I was out. And it made a difference. There was a lack of depth in the flavor of the soup that I think can only be gained from using stock.

I tried to make up for it by using some Italian imported white wine that we won’t ever drink. Andrew and I don’t drink wine, but my friend Amy gave me some for my birthday: a bottle of white and a bottle of red. When friends Peter and Susannah came over last weekend they went through the bottle of red and three-quarters of the white, which I decided to use for this soup. It added a nice sweetness and acidity to the soup that was very nice.

The Grain

I wasn’t going to add a grain this time around, but Andrew insists on maximum carbohydrates in a soup. Usually I do barley or a mixture of barley and rice, but this time I did just plain white rice, which I have about twenty pounds of in my pantry. Eventually, the rice soaked up the wine, the kielbasa, the vegetables and became creamy as I left the soup onto boil. I love the versatility of grains.

The Result

It is so pretty! Much prettier than the last stew I made. I am very proud of the aesthetics of this dish.


Grandmother’s Garden

My grandmother has the most amazing garden. Over the years she has grown a variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Due to age, she has scaled down on the amount of produce she grows and now she grows more flowers. She currently grows kale, arugala, figs, walnuts, green lettuce, tomatoes, chard, garlic, rosemary, and dill. In the past she grew corn, oranges, lemons, tangerines, and sunflowers. I remember summers when we would shuck corn and harvest sunflower seeds. I think this time spent in the garden really helped in my development and appreciation for fresh produce. At my own house growing up we grew all sorts of our own produce. If I remember correctly the fruit we grew lemons, oranges, tangelos, tangerines, kumquats, grapefruits, apricots, nectarines, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, grapes (green and red), watermelon, strawberries, apples, crabapples, and plums. This allowed us to have fresh fruit through most of the year. We also grew a number of vegetables and tubers: cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, onions, garlic, and lettuce. Despite growing up with all these vegetables, I disliked most vegetables growing up and still don’t like a lot of them. I don’t eat tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, or zucchini among others. I’ve retried these vegetables over the year knowing that your palate changes as you get older. I still don’t like them, especially tomatoes. Tomatoes have an high acid content and this doesn’t mix well with my digestive system. I will eat tomato sauce sometimes, but it still bothers my stomach.  We spent many weekends having to garden, weeding, thinning out, picking out bugs, picking fruit and vegetables.  Another great thing about my grandmother’s garden is that she doesn’t use any pesticides or chemicals, so you can pick a piece of arugala and just eat it straight. She does get bugs so she washes her vegetables and greens in water and vinegar. The pictures here are green leaf lettuce, rosemary, unripe fig, kale, arugala, and chard.