Kielbasa Soup

The other day Melissa came up with this recipe out of the blue – it blew me away. It’s a Polish Christmas soup with Kielbasa, potatoes, kale, beans and a delicious broth with a sour flavor provided by red wine vinegar. It’s one of my favorite soups, and by far my favorite way to eat kale.

Kielbasa Soup

Hah I wish I could claim that I made this up, its an Alton Brown family recipe. I like to watch the Christmas specials on Food Network. I feel like they inspire me before my Christmas cook-a-thon. Anyway, so I saw Alton Brown make this soup on TV and as I watched him reserve the sausage on the side, so he could make sure his  bowl had extra. I realized this was a soup for Trevor. I honestly have tried making soup for years for him and all he ever does is whine about how watery they are. It’s gotten pretty old and he likes to claim that he’s never turned his nose up at anything I’ve made, but I know the truth. So I printed it out, bought twice as much sausage as the recipe requires and got to work. As I was cooking I realized that I didn’t have enough chicken broth. My options were to go to the store and get more thus delaying dinner by another 30 minutes or just pretend it was always half as much. I took the second option, opting for the denial option if it flopped. It didn’t. He likes it thick! In fact I think he likes the broth more like a gravy covering chunks of his soup. This soup has become the man meal of all time at our house, he now requests it anytime its cold outside. The kids however have started calling it yucky soup and refuse to eat it at all. They get grilled cheese and irritated looks from everybody around them.

Serves them right.

Pesto Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Soup

Melted cheese and pesto goodness

Grilled cheese is great, but today Melissa concocted something that was a welcome departure from the usual compliment to tomato soup. After scoring a ciabatta loaf in the day-old section of a local market, she sliced it in half length wise and slathered one side with pesto sauce left over from last night’s pizza adventure. She added some uncured ham and raw medium cheddar cheese to one side and garlic and olive oil to the other. Less than 2 minutes under the broiler later we had an awesome, and giant sandwich that we then cut into 8 small sandwiches.

Trevor is normally pretty easy to please but some days he is leery of any type of change – today was one of those days. Luckily he was very happy with the difference and Ididn’t have to blow through a whole package of ham in the process.

But really, as awesome as the sandwiches turned out, they are basically just a vessel for the tomato soup, which I like to add a fair amount of Tabasco sauce to. We recently found a source of tomato puree that we like, which makes the soup come together quickly. But this batch featured some fresh basil and garlic as well, which made it taste extra awesome.

My first serving

Trevor and I were both raised with tomato soup and grilled cheese on cold and blustery days, and to this day still love and remember that warm bowl with a gooey cheesy sandwich. The biggest difference however is we won’t use Campbell’s canned tomato soup or American cheese on Iron Kids white bread (because we have standards) but we still want our kids to experience what we experienced.

Getting Aurora to eat the soup is not a problem, she’s addicted to soup-a-hol, of all types. Getting her to eat her sandwich however is a little trickier. She did end up taking a couple bites, but in the end I gladly relieved her of her sandwich.

Aurora is a lot like my little sister Aimee who always loved tomato soup and pretty much any soup my mother plopped down in front of her.

Cadence was much more difficult to please. This photograph was only made possible because of her love of acting. I think she ended up with a cheese stick and some blackberries.

Cadence on the other hand is more like I was as a child – totally in it for the sandwich and probably won’t like tomato soup until she’s a little bit older and her taste buds have matured beyond only liking bland (or sweet) food.

Genuine happiness

Synthetic happiness

Melissa's Pesto
  1. 1-2 bunches of basil
  2. 3-4 cloves of garlic
  3. 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
  4. handful of nuts, either walnuts or pine nuts
  5. 1/4 tsp of salt
  6. 1/4 cup of olive oil
  1. In a food processor put all of the leaves from 1- 2 bunches of fresh basil leaves 3-4 cloves of garlic (depending on how much bite you like), about a 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan, a handful of nuts either pine nuts or walnuts work best, a 1/4 a tsp of salt, and 1/4 of a cup of olive oil. You don’t have to grate the Parmesan if you have a wedge just cut a bunch of it off and throw it in. Then you turn it on and let it go if it seems dry add more olive oil, if it has to much bite add more nuts.
She & Him, Cooking

The best part of this recipe is you can play with it to get it right how you like it.

Such as doubling, or tripling the garlic. Is quadrupling out of line?