Island Kale and Sweet-Potato Soup
- SERVINGS: 4
Inspired by Caribbean callaloo, this tropical, coconut-milk-spiked soup can be mildly or wildly spicy, according to your taste. If you like it hot, add some or all of the jalapeño seeds or a splash of Tabasco sauce.
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, sliced thin
- 3/4 pound kale, tough stems removed, leaves washed well and shredded (about 1 quart)
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the kale, sweet potatoes, broth, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and just heat through.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the rice and boil until just done, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Put a mound of rice in the center of each bowl. Ladle the soup around the rice.
Crinkly kale leaves are wonderfully sturdy and flavorful, making them especially well-suited to soups. Remove and discard the thick stems and then wash the leaves really well before adding them to a dish. The twists and turns of kale leaves are great places for dirt to hide.
Foods with a bit of sweetness invite some in the wine as well. Good choices would include an off-dry Chenin Blanc from California or a similarly off-dry Riesling from Washington State.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.