Fall is by far my favorite season, I love everything; the sweaters, food, being wrapped in a blanket and reading on the couch. One of the absolute bonuses gained by going out to dinner as the seasons turn is getting inspired by food from the newly printed fall menus. I was at Back Forty in NYC with a friend who was eating a bowl of Kale Soup that had sausage and a poached egg in it. Even as I was spreading my chicken liver mousse that came with a perfect chicken crackling perched on top and a very nice whole grain toast, I was eyeing my dinner partners soup and bemoaning the fact that he wasn’t offering me any. Yes, I know, soup isn’t the easiest thing to share and my dining partner is a little OCD about germs so there was no chance I was going to get my spoon in there. Fine, I thought silently to myself as I had the audacity to sulk over my perfectly creamy, woodsy tasting chicken livers, I will just make my own and my dining partner will not be invited over for a taste. I can’t say how this soup compares to Back Forty’s and I have not one clue what the chef used to season his broth or even what kind of broth he was using, but my soup was fantastic, hearty, and healthy.
I made pork broth from a joint of a leg of pork that I had left over. Whenever I roast something I make stock or put the bones in the freezer to use later. I made the stock exactly the same way that I make chicken stock just subbing in the pork bones for the chicken carcass and cooking for 5 hours instead of 3. The stock came out a nice reddish brown and was definitely porky in flavor but not overwhelming so. Certainly, you can sub in chicken or beef stock to this recipe if you prefer.
Kale and Sausage Soup
For my sister Christina Joy
1/3 pound pork sausage out of the casing and crumbled (I recommend using a sweet sausage or a sage)
½ bunch of kale, cleaned, stems removed, and chopped
2 organic farm fresh eggs
5 cups of stock
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 star anise
4 tablespoons fish sauce
Toast the fennel, star anise, and cloves in dry pan until the fennel seeds start to turn dark brown. Remove from heat and put the spices into a piece of cheese cloth tied shut with a piece of kitchen twine. Put this spice packet into the broth with the fish sauce and bring the broth to a boil, let the broth gently boil while the sausage is cooking and the eggs are poaching.
In a separate pan cook the sausage until 75 percent done, using the fat from the sausage, add the kale and cook down. If the kale and sausage start to get dry, add a little of the stock and cook until the kale is done, 4-5 minutes.
Poach the eggs.
In the bottom of the bowls put the kale and sausage mixture and top with a poached egg, pour the broth over the top. Serve with warm crusty whole grain bread.
Just in case you were wondering, not only did I not share my soup with my dinner partner I told him all about it.