Preparing bacon without the possibility of immediate gratification is a challenge. But there were only 5 little slices, and I managed to be disciplined, only nibbling a mere couple bites from one particularly crunchy end.
And it is with good reason that I held back and instead satiated myself with a prosaic breakfast of oatmeal. The smoky quality the bacon imparts makes you kind of want to yelp in animal pleasure – and that wouldn’t have happened had I eaten half. That, and the generous quantity of Parmesan rind in the chicken stock I prepared last week, are almost all you need to provide the framework for a superbly savory one-pot meal.
The skeleton for this soup is the Portuguese Caldo Verde. The bacon stood in for traditional chorizo, and rather than paprika I added thyme and parsley.
Unbelievably, perfectly satisfying for a rainy February day.
Kale & Potato Soup with Bacon
5 bacon slices
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. chicken broth
5 c. diced Russet potatoes
8 c. chopped kale (stems removed)
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt (as desired)
freshly ground black pepper
Optional: small quantity (app. 1.5″ square) Parmesan rind
In a large, heavy pot over a medium flame, cook bacon, but do not allow to completely crisp. Remove bacon from heat and chop. Drain excess fat from pot but leave enough to saute onions. Lower the heat a touch; add onions and stir, scraping up any yummy bacon bits from the bottom of the pot. After about three minutes, add garlic and stir frequently enough to prevent the garlic from burning. After another two or three minutes, add chicken broth, potatoes, bacon, thyme and salt and raise heat to bring to a very gentle boil.
(Note: if you add Parmesan rind, do so now. Because I didn’t make the soup this way, instead adding the Parmesan to the stock, I cannot vouch for quantity or results here. However, since it’s such a classic soup trick, let’s just bet on it being a good idea.)
When potatoes are nearly cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes, reduce heat, add kale and stir. Remove from heat after about three minutes, or when kale is nearly cooked. Add parsley, stir and serve.
Season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt if you desire.