Monday, October 21, 2013

Crockpot Kale Soup

My extended family has numerous recipes that are considered family recipes. Often times the recipes have slight changes from immediate family to immediate family, but generally they are pretty similar. These recipes include a number of soup recipes, including Oyster Stew (usually made around Christmas time), Potato Soup, and Kale Soup. One of my favorite stories about my grandma on my dad's side, Grandma Harms, had to do with our family's Potato Soup. 

Grandma Harms grew up during the Great Depression, and it definitely affected her. She was known for being very frugal, and would make sure nothing was wasted. In fact, when the family would go to restaurants, she would usually come with plastic bags and take home everyone's leftovers in her purse. She also was an extremely hard worker, working on the family farm along with all of her children. She even had biceps as big as some of her sons, who weren't small men. She was awesome.

One day, my mom was making our family's potato soup, which has quite a bit of cheese in it. It was only after the cheese was put into the soup that my mom noticed the cheese was bad, ruining the soup. My mom went to throw the soup out when my grandma yelled at her to stop. My mom told her it was bad, and proceeded to throw it out, but not without my grandma getting a spoon and eating as much as she could first. She just couldn't allow the soup to be wasted. 

Along with the Potato Soup, my family makes a really good Kale Soup. This is one of the recipes that varies from family to family, and today I'm sharing my sister's version. It is delicious, and even my vegetable averse husband takes seconds every time this soup is made. It is a great way to get your picky eater to eat their vegetables, and Kale is a great and very healthy vegetable to introduce into your diet. 

Crockpot Kale Soup

1 ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup dried barley
1 onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 large russet potato, peeled and sliced into bite sized pieces
1 kielbasa, sliced
1 bunch of kale, stems cut off and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except for the kielbasa and kale into a large crock pot.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Take out the ham hock and remove meat from the bone. Place the meat back into the crockpot and discard the bone. 
Saute the kielbasa and kale in a skillet with a little oil until the kielbasa is cooked through and the kale starts to wilt. I cooked them separately. 
Add the kielbasa and kale to the crockpot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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