12ouncessmoked sausagecut into ¼-inch rounds, (recipe note #1)
12largegarlic clovescoarsely chopped
2poundsYukon Gold potatoesdiced
1 ½teaspoonsfine sea saltor more, or 3-4 teaspoons kosher salt
⅓teaspoonfreshly ground black pepperor more
extra virgin olive oil to finish
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat until hot. Add the olive oil and the sausage rounds; cook and stir until sausage is browned. Remove sausage from pan.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of olive oil from pan (or add more olive oil if you have particularly lean sausage); add onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion is translucent and the garlic is lightly toasted (taking care not to burn it), about 5 minutes.
Add 2 quarts water (recipe note #2), potatoes, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Mash some of the potatoes to add texture to the soup (recipe note #3).
Add kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Return browned sausage to soup and stir. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Linguica (a type of Portuguese sausage) or Spanish Chorizo sausage are both great in this soup. If you can't find one of those, kielbasa is also an option.
I love the clean flavor of this soup with a water base - it really allows the earthy kale to shine. That said, you can use chicken broth or chicken stock in place of water if you like.
For extra creaminess, puree some of the potatoes and kale right in the pot with an immersion blender or transfer to a standard blender.