Isn’t kale just so ‘in’ right now? I’m sure it existed well before it started becoming bandied around by foodies online but if there’s some sort of vegetable hero award to be given, I’d say kale will take it hands down this year (and its cousin Cavolo Nero will probably take second place). Oh to be so popular.
Kale is basically a wild cabbage with huge curly leaves. It’s a so-called super food and highly nutritious. If you were stranded on that proverbial deserted island with nothing but kale to eat, you should do well, if not better than most people living in urban areas of Australia. So if you’ve had your fill of Goji berries, quinoa and chia seeds, kale is the word.
Given its relationship to cabbage, broccoli and friends, kale would be easy to grow. I say ‘would’ because I haven’t actually grown kale myself but some random broccoli plants I sowed last summer somehow survived so my guess is kale should be plenty hardy too. At any rate, a lot of local market gardeners bring out kale at the weekend growers markets so I’m sure you’ll be able to find it fairly easily and year round as long as there’s no frost (wow I sound like someone who knows something about gardening…).
I happened to be at our local grocers the other day and spied a bunch of kale in the vege aisle. Of course I had to take a bunch and brandish it around the store like some deranged Shamen. I’m sure I had a smug look when other shoppers wondered what it was that I was actually holding. Kale, baby. Kale! As luck would have it, I also found some chunks of Stilton on sale (two weeks out from Use By so extra ripe) so a soup was definitely in the making.
I followed a basic recipe for broccoli and Stilton soup (Gordon Ramsay has a nice one with pears but I adapted Anthony Worrall Thompson‘s recipe for my kale version). I did use a few florets of broccoli as well as kale since I wasn’t too sure how much of a flavour the kale would lend after cooking but the soup is mostly kale. As it was also my first go, I also didn’t know how long I should sautee the kale but decided to give it a good cook through before losing too much of the lovely green colour. After all, we want to retain as much of the nutritional value of kale as we can.
The result was a lovely rich soup with a distinctly kale flavour and texture. The broccoli probably didn’t need to be used but hey, it’s not going to hurt having extra greens either. In the same way broccoli works well with Stilton cheese, kale also proved to be a perfect partner. The only thing I may try to do is cook the kale for a just that little bit longer but I suspect no amount of Thermomix blitzing can completely puree up kale and who wants mushy green leaves anyway?
Not a smooth soup but wonderfully nourishing.
Kale & Stilton Soup
350g kale (leafy parts chopped roughly – can make up this amount with broccoli florets to taste or to smooth out soup)
400ml vegetable stock (I used water, a dash of white wine and homemade stock paste as per Thermomix methods for soup)
1 onion, finely sliced
50g Stilton, crumbled, or to taste
100ml cooking cream (you can go double cream but I used some light cooking cream)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
To make: Sautee diced onion in butter in a large saucepan until soft (in TMX – blitz onion on Speed 4 for a few seconds, add butter and cook on 100C on Speed 1 for 3 minutes). I also added some black garlic to taste but I think regular white garlic will be too much for soup. Add kale leaves (and broccoli if using) and continue cooking until leaves soften sufficiently. With TMX, I continued the cooking process for another 7 minutes. Add stock (or water, wine and stock paste) to ingredients and simmer for 8 minutes. With TMX, I cooked on 100C on Speed 1 for same duration before blitzing on Speed 7 for a minute and then adding Stilton and cream (ensure you use the MC to prevent hot soup from splashing you and give the soup one quick blitz to blend cheese and cream). For those without a TMX, transfer ingredients to a food processor or use stick mixer to blend to desired consistency. Add crumbled Stilton and cream and stir until combined. Serve with a dash of creme fraiche or Stilton croutons.