Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Portuguese Kale and Homemade Chorizo Soup

I'm not a shrinking violet when it comes to ground meat and its saucy cousin, sausage. I love me a link or two, and I kind of like the idea that I'm not only getting value and lots of flavor, but also helping to cut down on "waste" when I eat it.

But boy was I surprised when I read the label on my authentic chorizo's packaging. Lymph nodes. Yep, I was grossed out. I'm willing to pitch on waste, but even I have my limits.

So I got to thinking, what is sausage other than ground meat + spices? I have LOTS of spices, and I love using them. And yes, there are mystery parts in prepared ground meats, too, so maybe the effort was fruitless. But it didn't stop me from trying. I found a recipe here. This site's a bit bare bones, but the first recipe called out to me with it's title: quick and easy. Perfect.

Mixing some ground pork with a handful of spices and garlic, then letting it combine in the fridge for several hours couldn't have been easier. Since I didn't have casings, I turned the mixture out from a bread pan and sliced it into squares. It fried up beautifully and I served it as a little nibble for drinks with a Date Onion Confit (chopped rehydrated dates and their soaking water combined with sauteed onions to caramelize + a splash of brandy. Reduce.)

But pork isn't exactly healthy. So what about ground chicken?
Worked like a charm!

Portuguese Kale and Chorizo Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 lb. homemade (chicken) chorizo
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb. kale, bite size pieces, blanched (and in my case, also frozen)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water

Heat olive oil in a deep sauce pan or dutch oven. Cut up chorizo into 1-inch cubes and saute until browned and cook through.

Remove chorizo and set aside. Add onions and kale into the same pot, then vinegar. I think you could add the kale without blanching it first and just cook it longer. I found that blanching it helped the "bite" of it quite a bit.

Add stock and water to cover kale mixture. Simmer and season with salt and pepper, heavily. Add the chorizo back into the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Great way to incorporate a leafy green into a meal
Homemade chorizo may not look as pretty, but at least I know what's in it
On hand spices, especially smoked paprika, make ground chicken a spicy delight

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