Chicken Soup with Kale, Sausage & Sweet Potatoes (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)
Happy Mother’s Day!
To celebrate, I invited my son Nathan and his girlfriend Samantha over for lunch. I decided to skip the typical heavy brunch fare and instead keep it pretty light. My dog Louis was visiting as well and I loved the idea of taking him for a walk, all of us together, after our meal. It was a banner day here in the Twin Cities, a real beauty of a warm-sun, cool-breeze, flowering-trees combo. They’re such rare days and I love them so! I know you agree.
I decided to make a big pot of soup so that I could send Nathan & Sam home with the leftovers. They’re both busy young working adults without a lot of time to cook! They’ve been diving into Project Vibrancy Meals and enjoying batch cooking on Sundays, which of course thrills me. But I like to send them home with food as well, since I’m cooking and experimenting all the time.
I riffed on what is now a Fresh Tart classic: Chicken Soup with Kale, Garlic & Sweet Potatoes. It’s a well-loved recipe at this point (yay!) so I didn’t mess around with it too much. The original has bacon in it, and Nathan isn’t a big fan of bacon in soup (he thinks it overpowers the other flavors), so I oven-roasted the bacon to eat with our salad (always do that, by the way, oven-roasted bacon is killah), and subbed in a sage-y sausage for the soup.
Total WIN. I love sausage in soup. It doesn’t take much to add layers of depth and texture. In fact, to me this soup is all about texture and it’s lots of fun to load it up with add-ins like nuts (I used toasted pine nuts), cheese (I used Parm), and even croutons (I made a batch for the kids to add in and skipped them myself because glutenful). To keep the soup AIP/Whole30 compliant, skip the nuts and cheese and top with a dollop of pistou or chimichurri!
I’m giving you instructions for gently simmering a whole chicken to make the base broth. It’s a great batch cooking trick, because you end up with plenty of leftover chicken for salad during the week. To learn more about the magic of batch cooking for putting fast, nutritious, deeeeeelicious meals on the table all week long, see Project Vibrancy Meals.
If you’re headed to early farmers markets this weekend, I recorded a short video giving my best tips for what to buy when there isn’t yet a ton of produce. There are plenty of treats to be had! (Below is a Facebook link; you can also watch here on YouTube.)
Happy Spring! (Finally!)
Chicken Soup with Kale, Sausage & Sweet Potatoes
1 roasting chicken, about 3 pounds, patted dry
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
2 yellow onions, 1 coarsely chopped, 1 diced
6 cloves garlic, 3 smashed, 3 minced
2 ribs celery, 1 halved, 1 diced
2 carrots, 1 halved, 1 diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to finish
4 ounces bulk breakfast sausage (AIP compliant or make your own)
1/2 bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale, ribs removed, sliced thin
1 large sweet potato, peeled & diced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (substitute mace for autoimmune protocol)
Squeezes of fresh lemon to taste
freshly ground black pepper (skip for AIP)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (substitute chimichurri or pistou for AIP/Whole30)
Make the broth:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat a Dutch oven or casserole with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Add the oil and when hot, add the chicken and brown it thoroughly all over. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
Turn heat to down to medium and add the coarsely chopped onion, 3 cloves of smashed garlic, 1 halved rib of celery, 1 halved carrot, and thyme. Stir around for a few minutes, then slowly add the water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Nestle the chicken back into the pot and bring stock to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven. (Or, turn heat to low and simmer on top of the stove.)
Bake (or simmer) chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken from the pot to a cutting board (it might break apart into pieces, which is fine) and let cool for a bit.
Strain stock through a colander into a large bowl. Skim fat from stock. Discard strained vegetables.
Make the soup:
Set the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the sausage to the pan. When the sausage is no longer pink, add the diced onion, diced garlic, diced celery, diced carrot, kale, sweet potato, and nutmeg (or mace). Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the onion is softened. Pour in the stock and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the carrot and sweet potato are tender.
While the soup simmers, tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones.
Stir about half of the chicken into the soup (refrigerate the remaining half and use for salads). Season soup with squeezes of lemon (the lemon is important, so don’t skip it) and salt to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls and finish with toppings.