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Getting Ready

June 25, 2014

So I’m getting ready for summer tour – we’re headed out to the biggest block party in the world this weekend in Chicago, then next week we do a run through the mountains then start up with Slightly Stoopid. It’s going to be a pretty chill summer, rolling on that festival with Stephen Marley, and we have a bunch of our own shows too. Aside from a couple weeks in July when G is doing his solo thing we’re touring right through to September. Awesome.

Some might prepare themselves by packing or taking care of last minute arrangements or even practicing the new songs, or going over the old ones they forgot. Not me.

For me it’s all about cooking up some health soup! All those other things are important but already take up to much time and mental space, they’ll happen – they only get exhausting when you stress out on them, or place too much importance on them. What is truly important, and what is challenged on tour, is your health.

I only have two requirements for health soup. It’s got too be loaded with greens and rich and satisfying. My recipe is adopted from The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, but as you can see, it is no longer vegetarian.

In fact, the process started last week when I roasted a chicken, and then made stock with the bones. This is an important part for me, because not only do you get some delicious chicken, the bones make a lovely stock for health soup. I think it’s important to honor the animals we eat by using all of them. As a carnitarian I eat mostly meat, and try to pay close attention to, and be as respectful of all my delicious brethren as I can.

So with home made chicken stock at the ready it’s go-time. I like to get all the ingredients prepared, then we can focus on the actual cooking.

One package (1+ lb) hot Italian sausage – squeeze out of casing if necessary.

I found the greens at my super market were in 8oz bunches, so I got 2 chards and 2 kale, for 32oz. The kale I strip off the stems (which I save in the freezer for vegetable broth), and the chard I chop roughly.

One head of garlic chopped – a hand auto chopper is your friend here.

One onion chopped

One big potato chopped in 1” cubes.

Brown the sausage in a fry pan. At the same time boil the potatoes in a couple cups of water and salt and pepper in a soup pot. When they are softening, add the browned sausage, leaving the fat in the fry pan.

Now sauté the onion in the sausage fat in the fry pan. Add the garlic after the onion gets a little head start. When they’re soft, and their moisture has somewhat deglazed the pan, add to the soup pot. As I add things I add the chicken stock, and bring the soup up to temperature on the way. Sauté the kale in any remaining fat, maybe with a little more olive oil just to break it down if it’s rough, then add it to the soup with more stock. Do the same with the chard and more stock. This batch used all the stock I had left – about 12 cups.

Add a cup or so of white wine and a few tablespoons of rice vinegar. It should come together acceptably in an hour or so at simmer, but is always better the next day. I’m freezing a bunch to stash on the tour bus!

It’s real nice on its own but perfect with some crumbled feta cheese, and red pepper.

Portland, it’s trying to rain.