I seem to have a habit of adding chorizo to soup these days. I do find it a great way to quickly add some flavour and spice to a recipe. There’s always some in my fridge, for occasions such as these.
Soup like this is always better made with a homemade vegetable or chicken stock, but as I was in a hurry (ie, nothing to eat for lunch!) I used an organic stock cube here, and the chorizo (plus a few dried mushrooms) helped to add more depth.
I was going to call this a hearty kale soup, but then I realised it wasn’t. It’s actually lovely and light, yet filling and warming at the same time. It’s more winter broth, than winter soup. And the main ingredients came from my rather unexpected organic veg delivery this week.
During my visit to Vegfest London a couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a free Farmaround organic veg bag. To be honest, I didn’t really expect it to turn up, or I thought there would be some kind of catch, but to my surprise it was as promised delivered this week by a cheerful man in a van and I was very happy to receive a bundle of complimentary fresh organic vegetable and a nice little veggie newsletter from the company’s founder, Isobel Davies. There was a polite follow up voice message from Farmaround to check I’d received the delivery OK, but no after-sales pressure at all.
That makes me much more likely to give them a try. Plus, it’s a company that seems to be involved in many good things. Farmaround was actually London’s first organic veg box delivery scheme when it was launched by Davies, a former jazz musician, in 1994.
She’s since gone on to found many great, ethical ventures, including Cow Nation, Hen Nation and eco-clothing company Izzy lane. Cow Nation is an innovative dairy model which allows each cow to live out its full, natural life along with their offspring. The herd grazes happily on organic pastures in North Devon, and the sale of its non-homogenised milk goes to supporting their future.
Following on from the success of Cow Nation, Davies went on to set up a similar model with Hen Nation. These hens are able to live truly free-range lives – grazing on grass and foraging in the hay meadows of North Yorkshire.
What about the sheep, I hear you say! Of course, Davies has something for them too, and her award-wining eco-fashion company Izzie Lane produces woollen textiles from sheep that were otherwise heading for slaughter.
Going back to organic
I used to get a regular organic veg delivery (from Riverford) when I was living and working in London, and I was really happy with the service, and the weekly inspiration I’d receive with the recipe cards. But then I went through a period of travelling a bit with my work and the produce started to go to waste.
I never got round to reinstating it when I moved to Kent. There is, of course, an abundance of fresh local vegetables around here, and it makes perfect sense to buy them.
But I’m thinking about starting an organic order again (maybe I’ll try out a few different companies first, before I settle on one) to supplement what I buy here in Kent, especially as I’m starting to juice more and more. It’s not always that much more expensive than regular (especially compared to supermarket organic prices) vegetables, tastes infinitely better, is fresher and more nutritious. What am I waiting for?!
And so to the soup….
Kale and potato soup with chorizo
Five leaves (approx) of Cavalo Nero, or another type of kale, rolled up and then sliced into ribbons
One large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, very finely diced
4 medium potatoes, finely diced
750ml to 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
Half tsp chilli powder (optional)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
4 dried mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil for frying
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Approx two-inch length of chorizo, very finely chopped
For the croutons
3 to 4 slices of stale sourdough (I find sourdough is great fro croutons, but any slightly stale bread will do)
Olive oil for frying
Fry the diced onion, celery and crushed garlic in a pan until the vegetables soften. In a separate pan par-boil the diced potatoes, drain and add to the veg mix.
Transfer to a stovetop casserole pot (you can of course just use a bigger pan, but I’m in love with my Le Creuset pot for making soups!) and add the stock, bay leaves, dried mushrooms, kale and seasoning (including chilli powder if you want a bit more kick).
Lightly simmer for around 30 minutes to bring out the full flavour. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls, with a generous sprinkling of chorizo and some lightly fried croutons.