1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. After a minute add the olive oil. When it starts to shimmer add the sausage. Break the sausage up into smaller chunks with a spoon while it is sautéing. When the sausage is browned, remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl. Add the leeks to the remaining oil and cook for one minute before adding the garlic, bay leaf and chili flakes.
2 Turn the heat down to medium and cook ingredients for two minutes. Add kale and stir to combine. While the kale mixture is cooking, roughly mash one can of the beans with your hands and add to the stock. After the kale mixture has cooked for five minutes, add stock/ mashed bean mixture, whole beans, sausage, sage and thyme. Bring soup to a boil and turn off. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with garlic bread.
Pro Tip: Add the finished soup to a blender and puree mixture until smooth for a velvety cream-like soup without the extra calories.
Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1 clove garlic, whole
Pre-heat the oven to broil. Place rounds of bread on a sheet pan and brush with olive oil. Place bread into the oven and broil until tops of toast are crispy and brown with slightly burned edges. Take out of the over and let cool for 2 minutes. While still warm, rub the garlic over the top of the toast until you are satisfied with the amount of garlic flavor. Serve immediately.
Fennel- and chili-flavored kale chips
This is a kale dish that even the kiddies can get behind. The crunchy and delicate kale chips are brightened by the fragrant fennel, spicy chili flakes and salt. Lacinato kale holds up better because it is thicker, but curly works just as well and becomes light as gossamer. Kept in a dry, covered container they will last up to a week.
2 tablespoons fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon red chili flake
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
2 bunches curly or lacinato kale- stemmed, washed and dried thoroughly
2 ounces olive oil
1 Place the fennel seed, chili flake and salt In a coffee/spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Grind or crush until the ingredients are a fine powder. Place aside until needed.
2 Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Working in batches, add kale, oil and fennel/ chili/ salt powder into a large mixing bowl. Work all of it together to get the kale completely covered in the oil/spice mix. Place the kale on a sheet pan with a wire rack insert and space the kale out so it is all in one layer. Put pan into the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the sheet pan 180 degrees and return to the over for another 15 minutes. Take the kale out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Eat immediately or store in a container.
Pro Tip: Crush the kale chips up into a powder and toss with popcorn to create a fennel/chili/kale flavored popcorn. The powder is great on buttered noodles as well.