Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Lamb Sausage

North African in origin, merguez sausage often contains lamb, which gives it a distinctive flavor and meatiness.  Playing off its richness are hot, pungent red spices, such as paprika, cayenne, and other chiles.  Here, sweet potatoes and green, leafy kale are great foils for the spices and sausage. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds total weight), scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ pound lamb sausage, such as merguez
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 8 cups homemade or packaged low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large red potato, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 small bunch kale (about 1 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and leaves very thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.   Cut the sweet potato into wedges about 1 ½-inches thick, then cut each wedge crosswise into pieces about 1 ½-inches long.  In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat.  Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until just barely tender (the tip of a paring knife meets some resistance when inserted into the pieces,) about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid,  heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Add the onion to the pot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 45 seconds.  Add 3 cups of the broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the red potato, cover, and cook until the potato is completely tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the sausage into slices ½-inch thick.  Use a wooden spoon to mash the potato cubes against the side of the pot, then stir them into the soup to thicken it slightly.  Add the sausage and remaining 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium, add 2 teaspoons salt, pepper to taste, the roasted sweet potatoes, and the kale, pushing down on the vegetables to submerge them in the liquid.  Cook, stirring often, until kale is tender, about 8 minutes. 
  4. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings.  Ladle it into warmed bowls, garnish with the parsley, if using, and serve right away. 
Kate Sears Photo