Recipe for barley and kale soup with garlic chicken sausage and mushrooms
Sticking with my resolution to eat more dark leafy greens this year, I'm trying kale every which way, and one way I like it best is in soup, where it mellows a bit but still holds its own. This barley and kale soup actually gets most of its flavor from garlic chicken sausage; if you substitute another flavor, such as Italian chicken sausage, make sure you select a sausage that's well-seasoned, and throw a garlic clove or two into the pot (Could it hurt? No!). Don't forget the parmesan cheese rind. It makes all the difference.
Barley and kale soup with garlic chicken sausage and mushrooms
5 cups homemade chicken or turkey broth
1 cup pearl barley
1 medium onion, chopped
12 oz chicken sausage, diced (I use roasted garlic and onion sausage, fully cooked)
8-10 oz chopped kale, spinach, or a mix of the two
4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or asiago cheese for garnish (optional)
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, stir together the broth, barley and onion. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is soft and chewable.
Add the sausage, greens, mushrooms and cheese rind. Stir two or three times, until the greens begin to collapse. At this point, you can add 1 cup of water if the soup needs more liquid. Partially cover, and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes, until the greens are fully wilted and the rind has given up some of its flavor to the stock. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.