Kale & Pear Soup with Bacon Sous Vide

Kale is known botanically by the name Brassica oleracea variety acephala which literally translates to "cabbage of the vegetable garden without a head.” I must say, every time I read that, I crack up - but I digress ;-) Although they appear very different, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all the same species of plant. The only difference between these plants are the differences that were introduced over thousands of years of human cultivation and selective propagating. Yes, it was us, the humans did it.

kale and pear soup sous vide image

In the wild, Kale is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, and up until this particular recipe and the resulting research into it, kale was something I never ate - willingly. In my culinary youth kale was regulated to a garnish usually paired with an orange slice or a strawberry plunked down next to my strip steak at our local chain eatery. Or even later during my gastronomic tutelage kale was used as a under liner for gallons of potato salad or other bulk catering recipes, but to eat? Never!
Jim Croce said it best “Like the fool I am and will always be …” I was the fool, kale is delicious and when prepared sous vide with fresh ripe pears and rich Smokey bacon it makes a soup that the late Mr. Croce would be proud of.

kale and pear soup sous vide photo


• 2 bunch kale, fresh

• 1/2-pound bacon, smoked, diced

• 3 cups chicken stock, low sodium

• 1 large onion, yellow or white, peeled and cut julienne

• 3 large garlic cloves, peeled, cored and crushed

• 1 large pear, stemmed, cored and sliced

• 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or as needed

• lemon juice, fresh

• 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or as needed

• 1/4 cup crème fraîche, for garnish

• Freshly ground black pepper  

kale and pear soup sous vide ingredients

kale and pear soup sous vide picture

kale and pear soup sous vide pic


1. Preheat the SV1 to 85ºC/185ºF

2. In a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the bacon has rendered much of its fat and is nicely browned, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon and reserve, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.

4. Add the onions, pears and garlic to the pan and cook in the bacon fat for 5-10 minutes or until they’ve begun to soften but not browned.

5. Stir in the kale season with salt, and cook until the kale has wilted down but not browned, about 2-3 minutes

6. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the mixture down in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

7. Using the VacMaster Bag Filler transfer the chilled mixture, browned bacon and chicken stock to suitable sized VacMaster bag(s) and using a VacMaster Chamber Machine, vacuum seal the bag.

8. Gently place the vacuum packed mixture into the SV1 and cook for 2 hours.

9. Remove the bag from the SV1 and transfer the mixture (working in batches if necessary) to a high speed blender or food processor fitted with the chopping blade and puree, starting on the lowest speed, until smooth.

10. As the mixture will be hot it's advisable to hold down the lid with a kitchen towel in case some liquid escapes when the motor is running.

11. Pause and add the lemon juice and hot sauce to taste and adjust the salt to your liking.

12. Pulse a few times to blend the final seasonings.

13. To serve pour the into a suitable sized soup tureen or into individual serving bowls.

14. Garnish with dollops of the crème fraîche and a dusting of the black pepper.

15. Serve Immediately 

kale and pear soup sous vide