Spicy Pork Soup with Kale
I posted this recipe a few weeks ago at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly Magazine. It is all soup, all the time in this house right now! I made both beef and chicken versions over the weekend, might as well add pork too and fill up my freezer. It is so nice to find a container of delicious soup and heat it up for a quick lunch or dinner. I make my own day when I find such a treasure.
I just returned from a national food bloggers’ conference – yeah, there is such a thing. It happened to be in San Francisco, so while the conference food was…conference food, everywhere else I dined was incredible. From pork liver to crispy tofu, from chicken gizzards to grilled okra, I sampled serious food, washed down with equally serious wine, and while it was unforgettable, after five days of indulgence I was ready to make my way back to reality.
Reality! Which given laryngitis (I talked too much) and tiredness (see food and wine above), for me turned out to be soup. I was needing a good dose of restorative vegetables, but was experiencing a bit of pork withdrawal (San Francisco knows good pork!), so I decided that a hearty pork with kale soup would bridge the transition nicely. And oh did it, wow, my not-kale-loving husband gave this a big thumbs up. This soup turned out to be exactly what I wanted on my first day home – pleasantly spicy, rich with silky pork shoulder and tender kale, with just a hint of comforting cinnamon.
It’s good to be home.
Spicy Pork Soup with Kale
1 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 fresh Anaheim or Poblano (mild) chile, chopped
1 dried guajillo or ancho chili, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
34 oz. chicken broth
3 c. chopped kale (leaves only, tough center rib discarded)
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sprinkle pork pieces with salt. When pan is hot, thoroughly brown pork on all sides. Remove pork to a plate and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, and peppers to the pan and saute until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add dash of cinnamon, then stir in the chicken broth. Return pork to the pan, bring to a simmer, and transfer pot to the oven, where it will very gently simmer.
After two hours, stir the chopped kale into the soup. Re-cover the pot and return to the oven for another hour.
Remove soup from the oven, then remove pork and gently shred into bite-sized pieces. Stir shredded pork back into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.
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