Kielbasa Sausage and Vegetable Soup - The Rising Spoon

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kielbasa Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Yum
Kielbasa Sausage and Vegetable Soup Recipe

Do you have a favorite recipe that you love to fix just for yourself? Maybe it's something the rest of your family doesn't appreciate but you couldn't care less because it sings to your soul every time you eat it. Bring on the liver and onions! Just kidding. I've never eaten that combo and don't have any plans to in the immediate future.

Well, I'm obsessed with spicy, brothy, vegetable-laden soups. And this kielbasa sausage and veggie soup is my favorite of the bunch. I've been making various versions of this recipe for the past five or six years, and first fell in love with it while attending college at UMKC. 

My younger sister and I lived together in Kansas City at the time (the Missouri side--yes, I have to make that distinction) and were both busy working + I was taking classes full time. We didn't have much time to mess around in the kitchen except for our days off and both of us were relatively new to cooking, so we made soup...a lot! 

It was easy, frugal, and provided a ton of leftovers so we didn't have to worry about lunch or dinner for days. 

Kielbasa Sausage, Kale, Potato & Vegetable Soup Recipe

This was only a few years into my self-taught cooking journey, so I didn't have a lot of experience with different cooking techniques or an array of ingredients. However, I loved trying new foods and would often flip through cooking magazines like Everyday Food and Real Simple looking for easy recipes to make that contained one or two ingredients I'd never used.

That's exactly how this recipe originated. I was browsing through an issue of Real Simple and a recipe for Farro Soup with Chorizo caught my eye. I'd never heard of farro, swiss chard, or Spanish chorizo before, but the picture looked so frigging good. 

I did some googling to figure out what the heck farro was--turns out it was a trendy grain--and made my way to the closest Whole Foods, figuring they'd have some in their bulk section. No luck on the farro or the Spanish chorizo. So, I opted for pearled barley and kielbasa sausage instead (one of my favorites).



As for the swiss chard, I was tempted into getting a colorful bouquet of rainbow chard instead. I thought the rainbow chard was so beautiful and exotic. I still have vivid memories of de-stemming it for the first time back in my old Kansas City kitchen.

As you can imagine, I fell in love with this sausage and veggie soup and made it a multitude of times while living in KC. So many times, I'm sure my sister grew tired of it. But, I never did! 

Even though it's had many incarnations since then, I still have the same wrinkled and stained recipe folded up in my recipe box.


recipe box + soup recipe inspiration
I pull it out for reference when I haven't made my version of this soup in awhile. Looking at it brings back so many good memories of living with my sister.

Like the fact that she was rarely ever picky about what I fixed for dinner. Unlike my boyfriend who dislikes recipes with squash and sweet potatoes. And, {drumroll} brothy soups. Sigh. I know you can't expect your partner, roommate, sibling, friends, or children to enjoy everything you do, but not liking brothy soups? Come on! 

I was in denial for awhile about this. I thought maybe I just hadn't fixed the right type of broth-based soup for his taste. Nope. The guy just doesn't like brothy stuff. Or at least an excess of it. He enjoys chunky soups like stews.

Which explains the beloved nickname he's given to my brothy soup recipes: soggy stew. The name makes me laugh, which is good. It numbs the sting of him sticking his nose up at some of my soup recipes.


Homemade Soup with Kielbasa Sausage, Kale, Potatoes, and Veggies
These days I'm so over my boyfriend's all-in-good-fun jabs at my brothy soups. Laugh it up and call it soggy stew all you want. Won't stop me from fixing my favorite soups. I'll gobble up every delicious bite all by my lonesome and freeze the leftovers for a blustery day when I feel like a hot bowl of soup without all the work.

For those of you who love broth-based soup recipes, you HAVE to try this kielbasa sausage and vegetable soup. It is SO good! The ingredients list looks deceptively simple, but the soup gets all its flavor from a combo of the smoked sausage, tomato paste (this is a key ingredient), diced fire roasted tomatoes, and spices. The broth is my favorite part! It's slightly spicy (depending on how much crushed red pepper you add) and oh so nourishing. 

And I love the texture of the different veggies: celery, carrot, gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, and wilted greens. The chickpeas add some extra protein and if you want to make the soup even more filling, you can add 1/2 cup of dried lentils or pearled barley at the same time as the potatoes (I do this occasionally). 

Kielbasa Sausage and Vegetable Soup
One of my all-time favorite soup recipes with smoked sausage and cooked chickpeas, plus lots of healthy veggies like onion, carrot, sweet potatoes, gold potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and wilted greens all swimming in a spicy, slightly tomatoey broth. It's a healthy, comforting, and filling soup with a kick. 
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
1 tablespoon of cooking oil (I prefer genuine extra virgin olive oil like THIS)
12-16 ounces of kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon of organic tomato paste
5 cups of low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth (homemade has the deepest flavor)
1 large Yukon gold potato, scrubbed clean & diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced 
2 cups of cooked chickpeas (homemade or canned)
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained 
1/2 a bunch of chopped organic greens, wood stems removed (kale, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, etc.)
Sea salt, to taste (like THIS)
Cracked black Pepper, to taste
Granulated garlic, to taste (I use it liberally)
Onion powder, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste

Recommended Equipment
stainless steel stock pot or enameled cast-iron dutch oven

Directions
Add the olive oil to the bottom of a large stockpot or dutch oven set to medium heat. Slice the kielbasa thinly and add to the pot once the oil is warm. The kielbasa is already cooked, but you want to brown and crisp it up a bit since we're throwing it into the soup near the end. Also, this step creates a base of sausage flavor for the soup. This will take about five minutes or so. While that's cooking, peel and dice the onion and potatoes, then dice the carrots and celery stalks. When the sausage is ready, remove it + most of the grease from the stockpot (I usually leave a tablespoon or so in there for cooking the veggies) and place both in a bowl. Set this aside for now, as you'll add it all back into the soup near the end. Don't discard the grease. Fat = Flavor and we want all the flava flav for this recipe. 

Add the onion into the pot and let that cook for a few minutes to soften, then add the carrots and celery. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the vegetables for about five minutes or until they begin to soften. Measure in the tomato paste, more salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and crushed red pepper, to taste. Stir everything and cook for a minute or two, then pour in the broth and diced potatoes. Let the soup come to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes and all veggies are fork tender. 

Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas (or use homemade), drain a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and wash a bundle of greens, then chop 1/2 of the bunch into pieces, removing the stems. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, greens and kielbasa sausage back into the pot. Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder or crushed red pepper, if necessary. (I always add A LOT of seasoning and the tomatoey, savory, salty broth tastes even better when it's a bit spicy from the crushed red pepper). Simmer the soup for another 7-10 minutes until the greens have wilted slightly, then serve!

Notes & Tips
  • Because I typically use homemade stock that is unsalted, I use sea salt, cracked black pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, and crushed red pepper pretty liberally when I make this. You can always add a little of these spices at a time, taste, and adjust during the different steps.
  • I used to love bringing this soup for lunch when I worked at the college because the leftovers taste even better as the flavors develop. Because of this, I make up a big batch, eat the leftovers for several days, then freeze the rest for later. This soup freezes really well and the flavors are great when reheated.
  • Feel free to play around with the veggies if you want to use what you have on hand; however, I definitely recommend some sort of smoked sausage + tomato paste at the very least. 



I'd like to hear from YOU!

Do you have any favorite recipes that you love to make for yourself that your family can't stand? 

Kielbasa Sausage and Vegetable Soup Recipe


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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter

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