Night of the Living Kale

Now that global warming has taken a few weeks off and I’m no longer waking up in a pool of my own sweat, Damon and I decided it was time for soup. Back in the day my dad used to make a kale, white-bean soup and I liked it so much, I decided to make a better version of it. The one he used and that I used as a base for my better creation is a Martha Stewart recipe. If you are interested in this classic, simpler version, FIND IT YOURSELF, THAT’S WHAT GOOGLE IS FOR. If you want my take, keep reading!

So, here’s what you need:

3lbs of kale
5-10 cloves of garlic
1.5 large yellow onions, or like, 2 small ones
4 cans of cannellini beans
4 cups chicken broth
7 cups water
½ lb Italian sausage
Grated parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme
2 teaspoons ground sage
2 teaspoons ground oregano

First things first: Drink a glass of wine. You’ve had a long day and you deserve it.

Second things second: Prep all the ingredients. You wanna chop those onions, mince those cloves of garlic, remove the thyme from the stem, drain your cans of beans, devein and rip apart the kale, and pour yourself another glass of pinot. Seriously, it was a really long day—I can’t believe you’re even standing right now, let alone cooking.

Ugh, how gorgeous is that?
This is how your kale should look once prepped. Ugh, how gorgeous is that?

Now you’re going to take out the biggest pot you have. Mine is 5 quarts and, as you will see, is just BARELY big enough to fit everything in. It looks really dangerous, but don’t worry about it; I’ve done this twice—I’m a pro. Put it on a medium-high heat, pour in a generous amount of olive oil, and throw in your sausage. Let that brown up reeeeeal nice and good. Once it’s fully cooked, remove it from the pot. Some of you may be inclined to drain the grease from the pot at this point, for which you deserve a slap on the wrist and a stern talking to. You need that shit. It gives your dish some flavor. Shame on you! If anything, you need more grease, and since you’re probably a disappointment and don’t have any spare sausage, bacon, and/or random meat fat lying around, you should just throw in some more EVOO. Go on, pour. There you are. Good girl. You deserve another glass of wine for that. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay, now this is the part where you have to actually do stuff within a certain time frame so pay attention. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and let them cook until the onions are soft and browning. Just FYI, it may look like you have way too many onions while they’re in the pot all on their lonesome. Do not worry. This is normal.

There is no such thing as too many onions.  Unless you're allergic.  Then to you, I am deeply sorry.There is no such thing as too many onions.  Unless you're allergic.  Then to you, I am deeply sorry.
There is no such thing as too many onions. Unless you’re allergic. And to you, I am deeply sorry.

Once they reach that nice golden brown, add in two cans of cannellini beans and mash them up a bit. I use a potato masher, but a large fork or spoon would also do the trick. After they’re smashed to your liking, add the other two cans of beans, pour in your broth and water, and bring it to a boil. Oh, and don’t forget about your wine. This is a great time to have a sip or two.

Once your concoction is boiling, take a deep breath, and start adding your kale, saying little prayers under your breath that the soup will not overflow all over the goddamn floor this time. That is, unless you have a pot this will all fit in. In that case congratulations, you can nix the praying step.

It's all going to be okay.  Deep breaths.
It’s all going to be okay. Deep breaths.

Throw in your thyme, sage, oregano, a little salt, a lot of pepper, stir it on up, and lower it to a light simmer. Cover the delicious soup and let it do its thing for about 20 minutes (unless, like me, you cannot physically put a lid on the pot because it is so full). Open another bottle. Put on last week’s episode of The Mindy Project you haven’t gotten to yet.

It was really funny, wasn’t it? That line about Morgan collecting bones at the city dump? Classsssic Morgan. Oh hey, you should really get back to your soup.

Stir it up. Ladle a little bit out. Let it cool, it’s seriously hot. Taste it. Good, right? Add any more spices you think it needs. I’m very bad about measuring spices. I just dash them in here and there, and that’s usually when things end up tasting best; I highly recommend you cook this way too. Also, by this point you’re too tipsy to keep track of that shit so it’s really a waste of time to try.

Last things last, add your sausage to the soup! I always save this for the end because I find meat that sits in any kind of liquid for too long just loses all flavor. It makes me feel like I am eating random lumps of animal flesh and kind of ruins life for me.

Mmmm, sausage.
Mmmm, sausage.

Oh, I didn’t mention this before but you probably should be serving this with a nice loaf of sourdough bread. Pop it in the over to warm for about 5 minutes, or until the top gets nice and crusty. Cut yourself a hearty slice, ladle yourself a heaping bowl of soup, top it with that parmesan cheese I mentioned in the ingredients (“Ooooh,” you say, “she’s been talking so much I totally forgot about that!”), and voila! You’re finished!

Best served with a third bottle of cheap wine and The Sopranos.

Bon appetit!
Bon appetit!