Christmas Soup

Total Time:
6 hr
30 min
4 hr
1 hr 30 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch thick on bias
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound red kidney beans, soaked at least 4 hours and up to overnight
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 pound red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 ounces fresh kale, approximately 4 handfuls
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the kielbasa into a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. Cook until the kielbasa has browned well and rendered its fat, approximately 15 minutes. If you do not have at least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough vegetable oil to make 2 teaspoons. Remove the kielbasa from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans and the chicken broth and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Wash, rinse and trim the kale and tear into bite size pieces. Add the kale to the pot, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or just until it is tender, but not mushy.

Add the red wine vinegar and black pepper and stir to combine. Evenly distribute the kielbasa between 8 soup bowls. Laddle the soup into bowls and serve.

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    Delicious--served it on New Year's Day, so I substituted black-eyed peas for the beans
    I changed nothing in this recipe - never do the first time, yet it was perfect! The garlic was great as is, the vinegar made it delicious. Everyone loved it.
    This was one of the easiest and tastiest soups I've ever made. Put it in the crock pot overnight and it was a big hit the next day at Christmas Dinner. Everyone came back for seconds and only stopped because we had more food to eat. I did cut back on the garlic (1/2) though and it still had plenty of flavor.
    Well, don't forget the vinegar! I did and it was just okay. Added the anchovies early as somebody suggested. Not sure that was a great addition.
    This is surprisingly fabulous! But you can't go wrong with smoked kielbasa. I had purchased ingredients for another soup but couldn't find the recipe when I got home. So after searching on the Food Tv web site, I came across this one and decided to try on a whim. SO glad I did. I only had gold yukon potatoes so I used those. Took the advice of others and held back on the garlic but added an onion. Such an easy recipe with a wonderfully rich taste from the kielbasa. (And I don't care if my kids don't eat it!
    Easy, delicious. I used turkey kielbasa to cut fat. Nobody knew.
    Alton Brown has been my culinary hero since my first episode of Good Eats nearly ten years ago! I've made this soup a few times as directed and it's just SO delicious! I just decided to add a couple little twists this time. I left the kielbasa in the pot throughout the process. I also added a small tin of anchovies to the mix (this, you simply MUST try! Finally, I added a hunk of salt pork along with the stock, discarding it before adding the kale. Simply epic. Just epic.
    OMG..........This was THE VERY BEST SOUP!! I soaked the beans overnight for 12 hours. Only changes I made were to simmer the beans for 1 1/2 hours, I added a bay leaf and I used Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock which I think is a much richer stock than the salted kind. I did add about a teaspoon sea salt at the end. This is a wonderful belly-warming soup. The vinegar really puts it over the top. Thanks, Alton, for sharing your family recipe.
    The beans in this soup give the broth a lot more body. I don't really like sauteed greens, but I LOVE the kale cooked this way - just 10 min is perfect. Make sure to get a good quality kielbasa, which you might not find at the supermarket. I had to cook the beans a little more than 45 min, and next time I'll use a little more broth. I think the amount of vinegar is perfect.
    I will do this every Christmas as a tradition. But, it is so good I have to do it more often than that. I took it to a football party this year and the guy that hosted the part makes amazing soups. I took just a little to show everyone how good, and how easy it was. This one was voted best of the three! It freezes well for those later parties as well. I love the tart vinegar taste.
    This is now a "must have" every Christmas. My kids love it and they never leave left overs. So good.
    Since discovering this recipe, I make it every Christmas. It is yummy and easy. I add onions and cook the meat a little longer to brown a bit. Make it, you will not be sorry!!
    This recipe was excellent, but it needs to be served fresh - no leftovers. Not the ideal soup to be making for 2 people.
    This soup is delicious! The first time I made it, I followed the directions exactly and soaked the beans, etc. It was great, but time consuming. The next time I made it, I used canned beans that I had rinsed. Just as yummy, with a much shorter prep time. It was a good way to get non-kale eaters to try it... and end up loving it!

    The best part for me is the red wine vinegar at the end. It gives the soup, which could be a bit thick tasting/feeling, a much needed kick of sharpness. It's the perfect finish for the soup.

    I've made this many times now, and each time we love it and scrape our bowls clean!
    Easy recipe and very tasty. I added onions with the garlic, and I think I will add a can of tomatoes next time. I personally liked the vinegar at the end - added some zest. I also used canned beans, which worked fine and cut the cooking time, and I added a whole lot more kale.
    I remember this recipe! I'll have to make it again. I made it a few years back and it was delicious, but I agree that 1/4 cup vinegar was a tad too much. Also, I personally adore kale, so I used way more in mine. If you like this recipe, though, I would also recommend you try Rachael Ray's Deep Winter Minestra. I don't know if it's on this site, though it is on her show's site and it's truly wonderful. It has mushrooms and even my mushroom haters loved it!
    Super easy! Very good!
    So good!
    This soup sounds amazing, will be making it for Christmas for sure!
    Great recipe!
    This recipe was delicious and looked so beautiful! I used chickpeas instead of red kidney beans because I don't like kidney beans very much. I really liked the vinegar. The soup felt hearty but healthy and was great for cooler weather or a cold.
    This soup is so good!! My mom had never had kale before and she thought it was awesome in this soup. I almost forgot to put the vinegar at the end and I'm glad I remembered because that was my favorite part. It would have been a little bland without it I think. I used canned beans instead of dried and it worked out very well. This was the first recipe of Alton's that I have tried and will definately have it again. I ate off the pot of soup all week long for lunch at work and the last bowl I had was by far the best bowl. All the flavors became more intense throghout the week and it was sooooo yummy! Give this one a try for sure!
    We live in Texas and it is unseasonably cold here! I made this soup for lunch today & it warmed up our bones! My 3 year old son helped me wash the kale and the potatoes. Since he contributed in the making of the soup, he was really proud of it and ate two helpings! This was surprising because he's usually kinda picky. Today was also the first time we've had kale & I liked the texture it added to the soup. I used canned red kidney beans and it was still great. I hadn't read any of the reviews prior to making it, so I didn't add any onions and kept the vinegar amount the same as the recipe. We'll be making this again very soon!
    I live in the Chicagoland area and just made this soup today. It is very cold outside and this hit the spot!!! My boyfriend said this recipe is a keeper. I followed alot of the recommendations made by the other reviewers and it turned out GREAT! I added onions and sauteed them with the garlic. I added a bay leaf and cut the red wine vinegar in half. This was the first time I ate Kale and it works perfect with this soup, it added a nice texture and stands up well in the soup. I didn't have time to soak kidney beans so I used canned and it was fine. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and Thanks to Alton for sharing a great family recipe!!
    Very good soup! I have found why so many chefs love Kale. It is what made this soup different and better. Being an on-the-go family, I can't ever be sure what we are eating the next day, so soaking beans isn't an option. Canned, drained beans worked perfectly. Don't be afraid to just throw the sausage into the soup.....everyone gets plenty, and it works better for leftovers. My only issue was with the vinegar.. I'm not a vinegar fan, and the taste was just too prominant. I think 1/2 the amount will do just fine next time. They really should change the name so people won't pass it by thinking it's just for Christmas. This is a good anytime soup.
    This soup is amazing...just what you need on a cold winter day. I served this with a pan of cornbread. Delicious! Thanks Alton!
    Made this soup today for dinner...WOW! Followed some other reviews and sauteed a chopped onion with the garlic along with some red pepper flakes for some heat. Used three cans of drained kidney beans and they seemed to do just fine! I also substituted defrosted frozen spinach since I forgot the kale...and since it's Christmas Day and all the grocery stores are closed, spinach had to do...and it did VERY well! I will definitely make this soup again with the kale, tho. I thought the red wine vinegar gave it the extra zip it needed! This soup is perfect for a cold winter day!
    Just wondering if anyone used a soy or gluten-based meat substitute for this recipe. I was considering using Soyrizo but I was wondering if seitan might be better...? I haven't actually made this dish yet so excuse the rating.
    This soup was definitely tasty. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had soaked the beans longer...I only did 6 hours, but they obviously needed more time. I didn't read the reviews before I went shopping, so I didn't add garlic. I put in the full amount of vinegar and I think it is just the right amount and adds a good degree of depth. Overall good...worth another try.
    I took the advice of others and added an onion to saute with the garlic and I'm glad I did. The eight cloves of garlic is not at all overwhelming and goes real well with the kale. I was unsure of the vinegar, but added the full amount listed on the recipe. If I make this recipe again, I would reduce that by about half as I found it to be a prominent flavor. I also used turkey kielbasa and it worked real well.
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