Maggy, Sharon, and I are all into stoups right now. In this relentlessly frigid winter of 2014, stoups are a quick, complete, and comforting supper. I suppose their definition is obvious, but for me stoup is a soup so wonderfully thick and chockfull of goodies it’s crossed the border into stew land.

I thought stoups were a new thing until I unwittingly developed this Sausage and Kale Stoup with Pumpkin and Farro and realized it was actually a riff on my Hearty Main-Course Soup formula in How To Cook Without a Book back in 2000.

The chapter is called “A Meal in a Bowl in Under Thirty Minutes” and the little rhyme I used to help cooks internalize the formula went like this, “Sauté an onion, then add vegetables, starch and meat. Cook it in a quart of broth for a meal that can’t be beat!”

And here’s the basic formula: an onion, a pound of meat, a pound of vegetables, a quart of broth, a cup of tomatoes, a starch (beans, pasta, rice, potatoes) an herb and seasonings.

There are a few differences in this sausage and kale version. I’ve subbed in a can of pumpkin for the tomatoes. I added my pound of vegetables at the end of cooking instead of at the beginning… but it’s close.

Next time you need dinner fast, test out this formula. Set your pot on the stove, start sautéing an onion, and then pull the rest of your ingredients. I promise you’ll have a wonderfully quick and comforting meal in a bowl—stoup, I mean—in no time!

Sausage and Kale Stoup with Pumpkin and Farro
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound chicken or pork Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 onion, cut into medium dice
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup farro
1 quart chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
1 pound frozen chopped kale or other hearty greens, thawed
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 teaspoons maple syrup

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook, breaking it into small bits, until it loses its raw color, just a few minutes. Add onion; cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Add thyme, farro, and broth; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until farro is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add pumpkin, greens, vinegar and maple syrup; return to a simmer and cook to blend flavor, about 5 minutes longer. Serve!