On Mirrored Elevators and Hearty Lunches
February 4, 2009
The past two mornings, I have actually been grateful for the mirrored elevators that usher me up 43 floors to my office everyday. Usually, I find these mirrored elevators to be a real conundrum. How do I abide by the socially-acceptable (totally SNL-skit-ish) custom of staring straight at the closed elevator doors, carefully avoiding all eye contact with my fellow elevator passengers when doing so leaves me staring directly at, well, myself? It’s weird. But the last two mornings, as I said, have been different. I have stepped onto the elevators, heard the recorded elevator lady saying “Going Up” in her ambiguous, international accented English, felt the doors slide quickly closed and said a silent thank you as I looked directly into the mirrored walls. Because doing so allowed me to confirm that no, my face had not actually frozen off during my brief walk from the gym to the office.
It’s been that cold.
But, I’m happy to report that the mirrored elevators have not been the only highlight to my Tuesday and Wednesday (thank god). Because both days I’ve had a lunch date with the microwave near my office and a tupperware full of this sweet potato, sausage and kale soup.
Between the chunks of sunset-hued sweet potatoes, the vibrantly green crinkled kale, the meaty chickpeas, the hearty bits of sausage and a strong punch of heat from the dried chile flakes, this soup could make even the most bone chilling (or, say, face freezing) day seem cozy. I can’t wait to have it again tomorrow.
Sweet Potato, Sausage and Kale Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chopped onion (about 2 large)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound bulk spicy turkey Italian sausage
8 cups coarsely chopped peeled sweet potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)
5 cups water
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Remove casings from sausage; add sausage to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until sausage is lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add potato, 5 cups water, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Gradually add kale; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste) and beans; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.