I have joined the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge this year. I have never tried to eat within a 100 miles of my home, but I think I do so pretty often by default. I tend to focus on eating in season, which is the tagline for this blog. (Did you know I had a tagline?) Eating in season naturally fits with eating locally.
This challenge begins this Sunday, November 15 and goes through March 31, 2010. My goal is to document a meal a week which is sourced primarily 100-150 miles from Portland, Oregon. Honestly, I think writing the recipes up will be more challenging then finding yummy things to cook. We are very blessed here in Portland to have grocery stores which focus on local products. Amazing farmer's markets make it even easier to eat close to home.
For example, on Saturday, Justin and I headed to the Portland Farmer's Market. We came home with lamb shanks, artichokes, celery, winter squash, onions, carrots, spinach, sunchokes, and a baguette. I am pretty sure that all of these fall into the official eating locally category except for the baguette. The flour is not locally grown, but was milled and baked here in Portland. If we had had more cash we could have carried home beef, salmon, cheeses, pickles, and pastries.
To kick off the challenge I decided to modify a recipe I found in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. This is a totally accessible recipe, easy, and fast, but with a few twists it fits the Dark Days Challenge. I do have a pantry and freezer stocked with foodstuff I put away this summer, but not everyone has that luxury. (Or obsession!)
The original recipe calls for lentils, which do not grow around here... as far as I know. While doing a final garden clean up I came across some potatoes growing in the garden. I subbed those in. As I mentioned before a local grocery store, New Season's Market, carried local meats. I talked to the butcher and he told me the chicken sausage was made in house from Pacific Village Chicken. I can't actually locate an exact city, but they are called a Pacific Northwest Company. So I hope they are within 150 miles!
This is a simple, but hardy soup, perfect for lunches. The kale and potatoes were from my garden. The onion and celery were from the farmer's market. The peppers (summer garden) and stock (past chicken dinner) hailed from my freezer.
Sausage and Kale Soup
1/2 lb spicy Italian chicken sausage - no casing
1/2 lb mild Italian chicken sausage - no casing
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large sweet or bell pepper, chopped
4 medium potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large bunch of kale, cut into bite sized pieces
4- 6 cups chicken or veggie broth
Pepper and Salt
1. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, begin to cook sausage. Break it up as it cooks.
2. When sausage is half cooked, add onion, celery and pepper. Cook until onions are soft.
3. Add potatoes, broth and kale. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning with pepper and salt, or if you want a kick, add some red chili flakes.