Excerpt reprinted with permission from Pure Pork Awesomeness.
This is my mom’s all-time favorite thing that I make. If she’s sick, I get a call to make this soup. If she has a few days off at home, I get a call to make the soup. For family functions, I get the call. She first had something like it at the Olive Garden when I was a teenager. She came home and said, “Kevin, you need how to figure out how to make this!” She drove me to the Olive Garden—40 minutes away—specifically so I could taste this soup. It’s basically potato soup with sausage and greens in it. I’ve been making some version of it now since I was 15 years old. I like the soup kind of brothy. The potato just thickens it up a little bit. I also like black lacinato kale, but you could use other greens if you like.
Yield: 3 Quarts
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
2½ cups ¼-inch-diced Vidalia onion
8 cloves garlic, thickly sliced, about ¼ cup
1 tablespoon Espelette pepper or hot paprika
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + more for garnish
3 Yukon gold potatoes, halved and sliced into ¼-inch slices, should be about 3 cups
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
4 cups packed sliced kale leaves, preferably black lacinato kale, tough ribs removed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Refrigerate the pork until well chilled; the fat should be solid and firm. Chill your meat grinder and the large die. Toss 1¼ cups of the onion, 2 tablespoons of the garlic, the Espelette pepper, fennel seeds, salt, and red pepper flakes with the pork and mix well. Chill until ready to grind.
- Assemble the meat grinder and grind the pork into a large bowl. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the ground pork, stirring gently until it just starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1¼ cups onion and 2 tablespoons garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Your sausage should be crumbly. Add the potatoes and toss to coat with oil. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover, and decrease the heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through and are just starting to break apart, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, add the cheese and kale, and cook until the kale is completely wilted, about 10 minutes.
- Just before serving, stir in the vinegar. Garnish each bowl with additional Parmesan cheese and a heavy drizzle of olive oil. The oil and other garnishes take the soup from ho-hum to over the top.
==========GOOD TO KNOW==========
When I really want to up the flavor here, I add a little Aromat, a seasoning blend made from dried nutritional yeast, mushrooms, MSG, and salt. It’s canned umami and delivers 100 percent pure savory flavor.