During the winter months, I eat soup almost every single day for lunch and a fair amount of dinners as well. Soup is such a wonderful way to get loads of veggies into a meal and it doesn’t hurt than the ‘one pot’ aspect of it is pretty appealing as well. The last thing I want to do on a cold winter night is do a ton of dishes (dry hands!)
This soup came about totally by accident. I’d originally wanted to make a soup with kale, sausage, and white bean, but after I got halfway through the soup creation, I realized that the can I thought was white beans was really coconut milk. bummer. So I sat staring at my pantry wondering what other carb I could include. A sausage and kale soup would have been ok, but with the fattiness of the sausage, I felt like something starchy would be a nice balance. I had orzo, quinoa, and israeli couscous.
I clearly chose the couscous…and for no reason other than the orzo was too high for me to reach without getting a stool and the quinoa seemed a bit small to balance well with the larger chunks of sausage and veggies. I wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out, but I felt all of the elements were good, so it would probably be fine.
Now, Matt is pretty used to eating some creative meals. People say that my best quality in life is my resourcefulness and if that is true, it sure does show in the kitchen. I will totally make things up based on totally random ingredients and feed it to my husband like it was my plan all along. After ten years of being together, he knows this now.
This soup – or I should probably say stew – is one of the best outcomes of my kitchen creativity. I’ve made it four times since the original substitution occurred.
Kale, Sausage, & Couscous Stew
- 1 lb sweet italian sausage
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 cup israeli (or pearl) couscous
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups roughly chopped kale (I just do 4 big handfuls)
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, sauté the sausage until browned and cooked through, breaking it into small chunks. Remove sausage from pan and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Discard all but one tablespoon of the oil. Saute the onion in the remaining oil for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the celery and carrot to the onion mixture and sauté until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Season with bay leaf, thyme, and salt & pepper, then stir the couscous into the pan. Cook for a 3 minutes, stir, then cook another 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and two cups of water to the pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add in the cooked sausage and the kale. Simmer for 20 minutes or until kale is soft.
I make this batch thinking there will be enough for both me and Matt to eat the following day, but there are rarely leftovers. The fact that no leftovers means we jointly eat a pound of sausage is semi-disturbing!