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Recipe of the Week: Christmas Soup

by Leigh Sackett

The build-up to Christmas that is the Christmas season – or if you are focused on what matters most,  Advent – can be very full as we all know.  So Christmas Day and especially the day after Christmas can have such a nice, welcomed, relaxed pace. Which is how it should be – especially if we have missed the chance to reflect on the great gift of “God with us” because of the hustle and bustle  of it all.

I try to do this and I also just try to use the days to rest. So no cooking or baking left for me – I play with the kids, read a good book and just soak it all in.

Preparing this delicious soup by Alton Brown ahead of time helps to allow me to do all these things on the day after Christmas. It’s name is fitting,  for it is a true Christmas gift  that gives me the day off from my Elfish duties that have filled all the previous days. Merry Christmas to all you. My hope is that you find your quiet peaceful time this season too.

1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch thick on bias

Vegetable oil, as needed

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound red kidney beans, soaked at least 4 hours and up to overnight

2 quarts chicken broth

1 pound red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 ounces fresh kale, approximately 4 handfuls

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the kielbasa into a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. Cook until the kielbasa has browned well and rendered its fat, approximately 15 minutes. If you do not have at least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough vegetable oil to make 2 teaspoons. Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans and the chicken broth and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Wash, rinse and trim the kale and tear into bite size pieces. Add the kale to the pot, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or just until it is tender, but not mushy.

Add the red wine vinegar and black pepper and stir to combine. Evenly distribute the kielbasa between 8 soup bowls. Laddle the soup into bowls and serve.

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