It must be April! We have California Golden Poppies in bloom, pictures of the caterpillars, chrysalis, and butterflies from Middle's classroom, Derby Days 5K (in the rain!), picking out plants for our garden, and library story time about rain and insects. April showers have made for some cozy family time this past week.
Our kitchen is the center of our house and when both big girls had a playdate last weekend, I found my kitchen taken over by a pretend cafe and lots of food preparation and serving. I'm hoping this glimpse of life with older kids is accurate - I love having a house full of girls, being the house where friends come to play, and lots of action in the kitchen!
One of the other reasons I've been enjoying our cooler weather is soup! I make my regular green soup recipe often, but my Aunt Sue sent me a link to this recipe because she had tried it at the Kettle and enjoyed it. It's similar in the base (sauteed and blended kale) but a little sweeter with the apple and I liked the pancetta and creme fraiche quite a bit. I didn't add quite the whole amount of kale called for in the recipe, and next time would increase it to make the soup not quite as thin. Little and Middle ate it up . . . Big, not so much.
Kale and Apple Soup (serves 6)
Original recipe from The Kitchn
10-12 oz kale, chopped and thick stems removed
1/4 cup (2 oz) cubed pancetta (Trader Joes sells it diced like this)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
2 T olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium apple, cored and chopped (I used a Granny Smith)
Creme fraiche (or mascarpone or plain yogurt) for serving
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute pancetta for 1 minute or until just barely beginning to brown. Add the kale and stir to coat with rendered fat. Add a little olive oil if the pancetta didn't render enough fat to keep the kale from sticking to the pan. Cook, stirring, until kale wilts, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock and lower heat to medium low, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes.
Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender, pour into a separate bowl, and set aside.
In the same skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cook onions and salt until the onions just start to soften up, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped apple and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the apples soften and the onions are translucent. Stir in remaining broth. Puree this mixture in a blender or blend with an immersion blender. Combine the pureed apple/onion mixture and the kale mixture and stir to combine. If it seems too thick (mine wasn't), you could add more stock or water.
Reheat if necessary, taste for salt and pepper, and serve garished with a dollop of creme fraiche.