Sunday, July 17, 2011

Salvage Soup

Well, digging out from the hail storm continues, and lordy, am I tired! It feels like life has been a crazy sea of repair men, roofers, insurance agents and non-functioning this and that ever since the storm hit. And then there's the garden.

Just a few hours before the onslaught I had been outside admiring my bountiful kale plants. It was the first time I'd ever succeeded with the cruciferous veggies. I'm pretty sure the banana peels worked, but aphids seem like the least of my concerns now!

At any rate, as I was out surveying the damage after the storm I couldn't get over how my beautiful kale had been reduced to shreds, and all of my plans for making potato kale soup seemed lost.

But as I knelt by the tattered remains of my harvest, it dawned on me that there was still plenty of kale there, it was just beat to pieces. But if I was gonna make soup out of it anyhow, perhaps this wasn't all bad. In fact, perhaps this was just "pre-chopped" kale courtesy of mother nature! So I set about gathering up as many of the bigger pieces as I could.

Meanwhile, a good chunk of the potato plants got pretty much totally pulverized, so I decided that I should just dig up & harvest what I could from the plants that were damaged beyond repair, which left me with a surplus of potatoes. Oh... the stars were aligning!

Now generally, soup making is a task that I save for the fall when the weather is colder, and I'm over-run with a surplus of veggies. But hey, I guess you've gotta make soup when the hail falls, or whatever that saying is!

So here's my recipe:

Potato Kale Soup

One onion - chopped
A few cloves of garlic - minced
5-6 medium sized potatoes - chopped
1 big bunch of kale - washed and chopped
1/2 cup cannellini beans (dry)
6 cups of soup stock (or water)
salt & pepper
olive oil

Prepare beans as usual - actually you should probably do this step ahead of time, or you could just use canned beans if you're not BPA paranoid like I am. Saute the onion in olive oil with a little salt until it is soft and clear. Add garlic and saute another few minutes. Add the stock (or water) and bring to a boil. Add the potato chunks and let them simmer until soft. When the potatoes are cooked run about a cup of them through a potato ricer (or you could use a blender) to give the soup a nice thick body. Meanwhile, blanch the kale in boiling water. Add the cooked beans and the blanched kale, salt & pepper to taste, stir and let the flavors blend for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Yum! I guess every cloud has its silver lining... or in this case a yummy soup lining! And just in case I needed any further evidence that all was not lost, as I looked up from my kale salvage operation, mother nature gave me this.


  1. Brilliant! Lemonade out of lemons, soup out of ____ :-)) Nice recipe!

    Dang! If you had a dehydrator, could probably salvaged even more! Didn't think to suggest earlier, SORRY. Very useful tool for ugly fruit or veggies, when you have too much and no time for canning, and/or for those that are almost gone.

    Hope you can get everything back to normal -or better-

    Gorgeous rainbow; Nature is full of drama, isn't it!

  2. That's crushing to lose - or nearly lose - your harvest. You never know what's coming, do you. I'm a fellow kale lover. This year I branched out from just Red Russian to two other varieties, but the Red Russian has done the best. I'm about to make a bit batch of Caldo Verde, which is the Portuguese soup that uses kale, potatoes and spicy sausage, and I have a kale and red lentil soup recipe that's really fine too. Definitely will try your recipe. If you still have any kale left over, thankfully it freezes very well and keeps for many months. Pre-chopped makes it that much easier to throw into stews, eggs, or whatever. Well done for make lemonade with your lemons, so to speak!

  3. This soup really looks good. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and what a blessing to look out and see that awesome rainbow!!

  4. Jay - That's a great suggestion. A food dehydrator has been on my wish list for several years. I keep thinking that I'll make one but never get around to it. It probably wouldn't have helped much in this case though... I fear I was a bit late getting the hot weather crops planted, so with the exception of a few immature winter squash, nothing had really started to fruit anyhow.

    df - I'm always glad to meet a fellow kale lover! It's so funny, I never even heard of kale until I stared gardening. Anyhow, I had great hopes of freezing it this year, but after the soup there wasn't much left. Sigh.

    Alicia - I fear the picture doesn't really do justice to the rainbow. By the time I ran in and got the camera it had faded a bit. It was really striking with the sunset and the dark clouds though. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. ECL if you do want to "bite the bullet" and buy a dehydrator (commercial versions are much more effective than homemade), I'd go for the best and get an Excalibur. I have a round, plastic thing, which works, but wish i could justify the Ex. It is multifunctional, and many have theirs going practically everyday, doing either drying, bread proofing, yogurt making, etc.... An addictive gadget!

    So, anyway, I'm sorry to hear that so little had matured, but you did memorialized the Kale! You can put out more of the crucifers, I suppose, since they grow well into the fall/winter. Also, you might still have some luck if even little bits of your plants survived, so don't pull up roots yet. Cut back and wait a little while...

    Wonder if you could include the "crop" loss in your insurance claim?! ;-)

  6. Make soup when the hail falls - I like it! Looks like very nice soup, too. My neighbour gave me some kale seedlings this year. They're still only about three inches tall, but I'll have to remember this recipe when they're grown up.

    At risk of being incredibly rude, please could you stop writing, "It donned on me"? It grates every time I read it.

    Love the rainbow, by the way. They're so difficult to photograph, but your picture is gorgeous.

  7. Jay - If only the insurance would cover the garden. I asked and was told no way.

    Rachel - Thanks so much for the grammar tip, I had no idea! I thought that it couldn't possibly be "dawned on me" because dawn means for the sun to rise (I don't always "get" the metaphor) so when the spell check didn't balk at "donned on me" I thought I had it right. Guess I've seldom herd the word "don" used except in a few Christmas carols - "Don we now our gay apparel, fa la la la la la la la la." - Actually, come to think of it, I thought that one was "dawn" because you get dressed in the morning. Lordy!

    The hilarious part is that I got in the habit of using that phrase in the days before spell checkers because I couldn't spell "it occurred to me." How on earth anyone can remember when "c's" and "r's" are double and when they're not is absolutely beyond me. Spelling and grammar have never been my forte, in case that isn't perfectly obvious by now.

    Hmmm... perhaps I'll go edit my posts to correct my error now...

  8. Well, phooey! At least you asked.


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