With jan D’Atri, GetOut Contributor

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Or, at least let it get cold at night so we can really appreciate a tummy-warming pot of turkey or chicken, baby kale and veggies in a flavorful chicken broth.

This soup is a healthful and hearty detour from the appetizers, rich foods and cookie platters that the holidays bring. You can go with either white beans (like northern whites or cannellini beans) or pearl (Israeli) couscous.

Also, I’ve just discovered a new variety of kale. It’s called Baby Kale and it’s sold in bags of soft, tender leaves minus the tough stems – perfect for this soothing soup! If you have some nice, crusty French bread, you can grill it up with a little olive oil and serve on the side or make savory croutons for your soup.

It’s finally cool enough to declare it soup weather, and this pot of comfort food will hit the spot.

Turkey and kale soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large sweet yellow onion, finely diced

1 large stalk celery, finely diced

1 cup leek, diced fine

1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half

4 heaping cups kale, stems removed, cut into small pieces

4 cups turkey pieces, shredded or chopped

6 cups chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) white beans or 1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

 

For Croutons:

4 cups bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup cheese (like Pecorino, Romano, Asiago or Parmesan) coarsely grated.

 

Directions:

In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Sauté onion, celery, leek and carrot until tender. Stir in tomatoes, kale, turkey and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for about 15 minutes. Stir in beans (with juice) or pearl couscous. Simmer for about 5 minutes (or until couscous is cooked.) Meanwhile, make croutons. In a bowl, toss bread cubes with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Spread cubes on a baking sheet and place under broiler (about 375 degrees) tossing once or twice until golden brown. Remove from broiler, but keep broiler on.

When the soup is done, season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Garnish with basil.

Option #1: Divide soup between four oven safe soup bowls.

Top each bowl of soup with croutons. Sprinkle a 1/4 cup grated cheese over croutons for each bowl.  Place bowls in a baking sheet and return to broiler.  Broil just until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Serve piping hot.

Option #2:  Simply serve soup with grilled bread on the side.