Kale continues to be the ruling super vegetable – people buy it even when they don’t know what to do with it because it’s so good for you! Packed with vitamins A and C not to mention calcium, it also detoxifies the body and is loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids, which help your body stay healthy and fight off disease.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but does it taste any good? Yup, sure does. Kale is one of those earthy greens that loves meat flavoring (like collard greens and ham hocks) or soy sauce or any sort of umami taste. Smoky spicy chipotles fall into that category and that’s just what I did here.
In case you didn’t know, chipotles are smoked, red jalapeno peppers. Available in natural food stores, or Latin American grocery stores, one scent will ensnare you for life and you will forever be finding new ways to incorporate them into your cooking. Since the “chipotle in adobo sauce” is a staple of much Mexican cooking, look for a future post of me making this sauce/condiment at home.
While I added bacon to this soup (before coming up with the chipotle inspiration) you can easily leave it out. This smoky, spicy, delicious chick pea and kale soup is deeply soul-warming and satisfying, particularly as the days grow shorter and night falls sooner.
Chipotle Kale and Chick Pea Soup
4 pieces bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fresh green jalapeno, deseeded, minced
2 cups chick peas, cooked (1 15 oz can, undrained)
5 cups vegetable stock or water (or a mix with chick pea liquid)
1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced thinly
2 cups potatoes (I used fingerling), 1″ pieces
1/2 bunch Tuscan kale, cut in ribbons (2 cups)
pinch red pepper flakes
1 dried chipotle pepper
In a large dutch oven or pot cook the diced bacon in 1 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until the bacon is very crisp; remove bacon with a slotted fork and reserve. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook over high heat until softened; add fennel and cook another 5 minutes until softened. Add chick peas, stock and potatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and add pepper flakes and minced dried chipotle pepper and cook until potatoes are almost tender. Stir in kale and bacon if using and cook for another 3 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.
P.S. I store my food in mason jars because 1) I prefer putting them in glass (steaming hot soup can go straight into a jar and there is no breakage and no plastic leakage, and 2) I know what my leftovers look like and I’m more apt to eat them!
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