Spicy Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

Matt and I usually split up dinner duty. He’ll cook Monday and Tuesday, for example, and I’ll take Wednesday and Thursday. Last week, I had plans for one of “my” nights to cook a bok choy and noodle stir fry. I had gone to the Japanese market on my way home from class to pick up all sorts of ingredients, only to come home and not feel like doing anything. Cleaning the bok choy seemed like too much of a hassle, and I’d have to cook it separately because it didn’t all fit in our skillet (I really want need to buy a wok). I didn’t feel like chopping onion, grating ginger, etc. So I ordered a pizza…and felt a little pathetic.

And that just about sums up my relationship with cooking these days. Something I usually do to relieve stress has somehow become a source of stress. I just never feel like cooking anymore…and that is not normal for me!

After a lot of reflection (and too much take-out), I’m starting to realize I can maybe be a little hard on myself when it comes to cooking. When I plan meals, thinking about things like “will this photograph well?”, “is this healthy enough?”, and “is this different enough?” make me second guess everything. I wasn’t even going to post about this soup, for example, because I wasn’t happy with how the pictures turned out and was worried it was too similar to a combination of flavors I made last year.

So…I’ve decided I need to go a little easier on myself to get out of my slump. I’m going to finally make some dinners in the slow cooker this week. I’m going to cook with the flavors I know I love. Simple food is usually best, anyway.

I’m also going to start cooking with more heavy cream, because it made this soup absolutely delicious.

Spicy Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me talk about this soup for a moment. My mom actually first made this for me over the summer when she was getting so many CSA greens. I adapted the recipe, originally from the gorgeous blog The Candid Appetite, to use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Like I said earlier, kale, sweet potatoes, and sausage is one of my favorite flavor combinations, especially in the fall. The recipe could be adapted to use most types of hearty greens. Just make sure you have some bread for dunking, of course.

Spicy Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings

Spicy Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

Adapted from The Candid Appetite


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian chicken sausage, removed from the casing
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 large or two small bunches Tuscan (lacinato) kale, cleaned, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 8-10 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Crusty bread, for serving


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits of sausage as it cooks. When the onion is soft, in about 5 minutes, add the garlic and the chili flakes. Cook for another minute.
  • Add a little bit of the chicken stock to the pot (about 1/2 cup) and start adding the kale in batches. I found it easiest to add as much to the pot as possible at a time and cover until it wilted. When all of the kale has been added and wilted, add the nutmeg, sliced sweet potatoes, and cooked chicken sausage.
  • Add enough chicken stock to completely submerg the potatoes and the kale (this will depend on how much kale you use) and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  • Taste the soup for seasoning and add freshly ground black pepper and/or salt if necessary. Stir in the heavy cream. Serve with crusty bread for dunking.

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