1 bunch kale
3 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 medium onion — red or yellow, diced into 1/2-inch squared
6 garlic cloves — peeled and sliced
1 small dried red chile pepper — seeded and chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
4 medium red potatoes — about 1 pound, scrubbed and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast — optional
7 cups water — or stock, prepared using the stems of the kale used in the recipe
To serve: — creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)
Using a sharp knife, cut the ruffled kale leave off their stems, which are very tough and take a long time to cook. Cut the leaves into pieces roughly 2-inches square, wash them well, and set them aside.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic, chili, bay leaf, and salt, and cook over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes and the yeast (if using), plus a cup of the water or stock. Stir together, cover, and cook slowly for 5 minutes.
Add the kale, cover, and steam until it is wilted, stirring occasionally. Pour in the rest of the water or stock, bring to a boil, then simmer slowly, covered, until the potatoes are quite soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the potatoes by pressing them against the sides of the pot, or puree a cup or two of the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. This will make a unifying background for the other elements.
Taste the soup for salt and add a generous grinding of black pepper.
If possible, let the soup sit for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavors to further develop.
Serve the soup hot without any garnish, or with a spoonful of creme fraiche or sour cream if desired.
Serves 4 to 6
Cook N Home Stainless Steel Stockpot With Lid, 5 Quart, Silver