Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sunny Side Up: Vol. 4

I no longer live in Sunnyside, Queens (and my I say thank God!) but I like the name of this "series" I started and I want to rev it back up. So fasten your seat belts, keep your eyes pointed forward, and away we go...

This past winter I signed up for a CSA, also known as Community Supported Agriculture, through a group called Simply Wisconsin. I had always wanted to be a part of one because I have a passion for supporting local agriculture and sustainable farming practices. Thankfully Chicago has lots of CSA options but this one had come highly recommended to me by several friends so I jumped on the bandwagon and every Tuesday for ten weeks was gifted with a box of local produce, eggs and cheese. While it was incredibly awesome I must admit that living by myself made it challenging to use up all of the winter squash and other root vegetables that filled my crisper drawer. Which is why I will be super glad that once my summer CSA begins Jürgen will be back in Chicago (yay!) to help me keep any veggies from going to waste. 

Even though my winter share stopped being delivered at the beginning of February, I am still laden with potatoes. So. Many Potatoes. I love a good spud as much as the next person, after all they are one of the most versatile of veggies. You can mash em, fry em, boil em', bake em'....the possibilities are endless. However I needed to find a recipe that would use a good amount of taters and be a filling and healthy meal. 

Nothing pleases me more during my lunch hour than a nice bowl of soup coupled with some cheese and crackers, so when I came upon this recipe I knew I had found a winner.

             Potato Soup with Kale and Chorizo

                                    By: Roy Finamore, Bon Appétit- March 2008

This soup is incredibly easy to make. Just a little basic chopping prep and you really let the stove do most of the work. The recipe says to peel the potatoes but I left the skin on because I feel like someone told me once that the skin is the most nutritious part of a tater. Ok lets be honest I really just didn't want to deal with peeling a bunch of potatoes! I promise you it had no negative effect on the outcome.

After the soup simmers for an hour it is ready to go, but like any good soup if you can wait a night and let the flavors develop over time you will be rewarded handsomely. The only spice you add is a healthy dose of smoked paprika, which adds a really nice heat to the dish. The soup itself is very hearty with lots of big chunks of potato, which keep their shape instead of turning into mush which makes for a nice variety in texture. The chorizo swims unsuspectingly in the broth and helps to round out the the dish, while the kale, a super food, just makes you feel so healthy. Seriously whenever kale passes my lips I just feel my body say "thank you."

The other day at work my "pod-mate" exclaimed "That soup! It smells so good!"  I have to agree it does smell awfully nice.

You can find the full recipe here, but as always here is an ingredients list and a cost breakdown.


5 tablespoons olive oil, divided (Had
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups) (Had
8 ounces fully cooked smoked Spanish chorizo or hot Calabrese salami, casing removed if necessary, chopped* ($5.49)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika ($6.99-I actually had this at home, but wasn't aware until I got home, oh well can't have too much smoked paprika apparently!)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Had...obviously!)
8 cups low-salt chicken broth ($12.97-Bought one 48oz box and one 32oz box, both by Swanson®)
1 1/2 pounds kale, stemmed, torn into small pieces (about 16 cups lightly packed) ($1.20)
3 cups 1/2-inch cubes rustic bread** ($2.49)

Total spent: $29.14

I have eaten this soup three times since and I definitely have at least three more days worth remaining. That all equals out to $4.86 a day! Obviously if you already have the paprika that cuts the cost even more, but if you do have to spring for the seasoning its always a good investment to have a well stocked spice cabinet!

*For any vegetarians/ non-red meat eaters out there, you could absolutely substitute a veggie or a chicken/turkey sausage for the chorizo. You may just want to play a bit with seasoning since chorizo is such a heavily seasoned sausage.

**While the homemade croutons are a nice addition and add great crunch, they aren't necessary at all for the overall enjoyment factor of the dish.

**And now a PSA from the Closing Notice Headquarters: If every one of us committed to eating just 10% of our food from local purveyors we would make a huge difference for local farmers and our environment. Eating locally is not only one of the healthiest options around there but it actually can be quite affordable.   My summer CSA share for produce costs $230 and will last 18 weeks, which works out to $12.78 a week! That's no more than what you would spend at your local grocery store chain. For more information about CSA's in your area visit Local Harvest.**

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