The holidays had their way with me and my vegetables. For nearly three weeks (and likely more) it was a race to the finish. On Christmas Eve Eve, down to the wire, in a mad wrapping session, locked up with scissors & tape, bows & paper, and a copy of Gone With the Wind, I hunkered into packaging overdrive.Usually, I’d have shopped on black Friday. Usually, I’d have wrapped gifts along the way.Usually, I’d have finished by the time the credits rolled. Not this year.

“Frankly my dear..,” Rhett said, as more naked presents awaited, “I don’t give a damn.”

With an imposing crick in my neck, elbows and hands a-flying, and a tag-on episode of a new Rachel Ray show that I with shame and regret, checked out – the last tag was affixed…To: Kendall From: Lady Gaga – delirium. Christmaspalooza was underway. When we were kids, didn’t Christmas used to run from about 6:30 – 6:45am?

After the gifts were opened, the meals prepared, the travels completed,the leftovers consumed, the cocktails drunk, the grandpa checked at the airport, and the old acquaintance had been forgot – I was spent.And in my refrigerator, only these lonely leafy greens awaited, lying wilted and lifeless, staring up at me, both of us knowing how the other felt.

“Oh Rhett, where shall I go, what shall I do?”

Alas, one answer – my usual answer – emerged and soup was to be made, bringing the kale and chard and me back to life. This is one of the easiest soups to make and it boasts some decent pick-me-up ingredients.

A quick saute of Italian chicken sausage and leeks set the base offering their caramelized flavor.

Next in, chicken stock and white kidney beans. At the end, I added the kale and chard and cooked them down to a point where all members of my family will eat them. Important tip: the younger the children, the smaller the chopped greens and the longer they need to cook.

Topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and we had a hearty meal packed with perhaps enough energy to take down our tree, maybe tomorrow….afterall, tomorrow is another day.

[recipe]

vegetable revival: getting the soup treatment

Preptime: 5 minutes

Cooktime: 35 minutes, not all active1 t olive oil Serves 4-6

2 Italian chicken sausage links – casings opened, using only the meat

2 leeks, white section, sliced

1 32 oz container chicken stock

1 10 oz can white beans – kidney, pinto, navy etc

1 bunch kale and/or chard, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

Heat olive oil in heavy bottom pot. Saute sausage and and leeks together over medium heat. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until leeks are soft and sausage mostly cooked.

Add in chicken stock, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add kale/chard and simmer for an additional 30 minutes or to your liking for the vegetable’s consistency.

Cook’sOption: Really endless, but if you’re inspired, add carrots and celery to the saute. Increase or decrease stock amount based on how much broth you prefer. Slice links rather than using loose meat if your time is crunched. Spinach also great instead of or with the kale and chard.

recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com

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