HEAT WATER IN LARGE PAN. Meanwhile, with sharp knife, remove stems of ruffled kale leaves. Chop stems into 1-inch long pieces and add them to the water. Cut leaves into pieces about 2-inch square, wash well and set aside. Scrub and peel potatoes and add peels to heating water along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 bay leaf. When water boils, lower heat and let it simmer while you assemble remaining ingredients. Cut peeled potatoes into pieces about 1/2-inch square. Heat oil in soup pot, add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and remaining bay leaf. Cook over medium-high heat 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently, then season with salt. Stir in potatoes and 1 cup strained simmering stock. Cover and cook slowly 5 minutes. Add kale, cover again and steam until leaves are wilted, stirring once or twice. Strain remaining stock into soup pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer slowly, covered, until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Use back of wooden spoon to break up potatoes by pressing them against sides of pot or puree 1 or 2 cups soup in blender and return it to pot to make unifying background for other elements. Taste soup and season to taste with salt and generous grinding of pepper. If possible, set soup aside 1 hour to allow flavors to merge and develop even further, then serve with light sprinkling of parsley.
DEBORAH MADISON - PRODIGY GUEST CHEFS COOKBOOK