This is the perfect meal to make on a lazy winter afternoon. It is also the perfect meal to make when you have told your husband that you will make him lunch, you really do not want to go grocery shopping, and you discover that what you have in your fridge is: ground pork, chicken broth, celery, and half a jar of home-canned tomatoes from a friend.
Okay, so you don’t have to be in that exact situation, but it does help. Especially if your husband has low expectations for what lunch will be, so when you serve him this he is amazed that you created something seemingly so complicated. Except: it isn’t. Our little secret.
These are the approximate amounts that I used for each of these ingredients. I was winging it a bit, and I recommend you do the same. Bring all these flavors to the party and I guarantee it won’t go awry if you change the ratios a little bit.
- 1 lb. Ground Pork
- Spices: A generous shake each Parsley and Salt, 1-2 tsp. Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder, and Paprika, and a pinch of Red Pepper Flakes. (You could also throw in some Fennel seeds for true Italian sausage flavors, but personally I hate them so I abstained.)
- 15 oz. Whole, Canned Tomatoes
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 bunch Celery
- 1 bunch Tuscan Kale
- 1/2 cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk (If dairy is not an issue you could just as easily use milk or cream.)
1. Clean and chop your kale. Grab the bunch together and slice it into broad strips. Set aside.
A note on kale: there are several different kinds of kale, but my favorite, and the one I’ve selected for this soup, is Tuscan kale. It is also sometimes known as Italian kale, Lacinato kale, and Dinosaur kale. (I am not making this up.)
It looks like this:
Keep in mind that you will receive bonus points if you harvest this kale from your own garden.
Unfortunately, you will receive negative bonus points if, while harvesting the kale, you discover that your dog has learned how to jump over the fences you placed around your garden boxes EXPRESSLY TO KEEP HIM OUT.
2. Wash your celery, snap off the little leafy bits, and chop into narrow half-rounds. Set aside.
(Regain your bonus points when you throw extra bits of celery down on the ground and your dog sneaks away with them like they’re a treat. Clearly you must be doing something right.)
3. Place your ground pork in a large skillet, and throw all the spices (listed above) on top of it. Over medium-high heat, use a wooden spoon or thick spatula to stir and chop the pork for about five minutes until the spices are thoroughly combined and the pork is somewhat browned on all sides. (It’s okay if it’s still pretty pink at this point.)
4. Add the canned tomatoes to the skillet, stir to combine, then cover, lower the heat to medium, and let steam for another five minutes.
5. While the pork is steaming, combine your chicken broth, celery, and kale, in a large soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
A note on chicken broth: homemade is best, not only because it is awesome for you but because, c’mon. Delicious.
6. Turn the broth down to medium heat, add the sausage/tomato mixture and the milk or coconut milk, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (You may stir occasionally if you wish.)
You are looking for the liquid to reduce significantly and for the celery to be very soft; if you do it the same way I did, you’ll end up with a very large meat-and-veggies to liquid ratio.
Ta-da! Yummy. This soup should serve two people if one of them is Gil, and three to four people if none of them are. That’s just how it is.
Disclaimer: I don’t know anything about making soup. All I know is that I made this one and it was awesome. If you read this and think to yourself, “I know a way better way of making something this awesome with the same ingredients,” have at it. And by all means, let me know!
In the mean time, all I have to say is: Enjoy.
(Oh, and any advice on dog-proofing garden beds?)