Fall Flavors: Kale, Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup

     While in KC this past weekend we bought all sorts of fall veggies from a farm stand. Since I had home-grown sweet potatoes on hand, kale and sweet potato soup seemed like a likely combination. Barry requested that I add a little meat so I thought sausage would add complimentary flavors.  Below is a run down of the soup I made but I think it would be easy to make a vegetarian variety by leaving out the meat and using vegetable stock.
Kale, Sweet Potato & Sausage Soup
About ¼ lb. ground sausage
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
5 to 6 cups chicken broth or stock
3 to 4 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon paprika
1 to 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
Coarse salt & pepper to taste
2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ to ¾ lb. kale

1.  In a large stockpot, set on medium-high, brown the sausage. Stir in onions and garlic and continue to sauté under they are tender.
2.  Add bay leaves, stock, tomato paste and seasonings; bring soup to a boil.
3.  Wash kale; cut or pull the leaves from stems and finely chop (it will look like a lot but will cook down). Add to the soup and cook about 20 to 30 minutes.
Cut away the  stem or simply pull the leaves away it. 
Looks like a lot but, due to its high water content, it cooks way down.
Allow sufficient cooking time -- the kale softens as it cooks.
4.  Add sweet potatoes and cook about 30 additional minutes until potatoes are tender and kale is completely soft and wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Kale is a large dark green leafy vegetable similar to collards or mustard greens; it is quite tough, but softens when cooked. Considered to be a "super food,” kale is packed with vitamins not found in many other vegetables. It is also touted as having both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

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