Monday, January 9, 2012

Italian-Style Sausage Soup with Kale (or Escarole, Swiss Chard, or Spinach)

Italian-Style Sausage Soup with Kale (or Escarole, Swiss Chard, or Spinach)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
4 or 5 servings
This recipe can be found on various sites on the internet; I've read that it is similar to The Olive Garden's "Toscana" soup, but never having tried the OG's Toscana soup, I can't confirm that. I've tweaked the recipe a little to make it more to my liking; I've put asterisks next to the things I changed; my changes are indicated by brackets.
3 links Italian Sausage [I use 8 ounces Italian bulk sausage]*
*2 medium size baking potatoes (Russet) cut into very large chunks,[I peel the potatoes first]
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 to 3 slices bacon, diced
3/4 cups onions, cut into medium small dice [I use yellow onions]
1 large clove of garlic, minced [I use 2 if they are smallish]
2 cups [loosely packed] kale, escarole, Swiss chard, or spinach [tough center stems removed, then coarsely chopped or sliced]
*2 Tablespoons chicken base (the paste kind which comes in a jar)
*4 cups water
[In place of the chicken base and water, I used 4 cups organic chicken broth/stock from the carton, and added 2 teaspoons of chicken base to enrich the stock,(optional)]
1/2 cup to 1 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
*Note: I also added a couple of small pinches of whole fennel to the sausage meat as it was browning (optional)
Method: If using link sausage, remove meat from casings, brown sausage meat in large pot or Dutch oven, breaking up large chunks, until cooked through. Remove browned sausage and set aside. Drain fat from pot and discard. Add bacon to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring until it begins to release some fat; then add onions and continue cooking over medium heat until onions are translucent and tender. Add garlic, stir in and cook 1 minute longer. Add broth/stock and optional 2 teaspoons of chicken base and potatoes & carrots (OR 2 Tablespoons chicken base, 4 cups water and the potatoes & carrots) Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the sausage, kale or other greens. Simmer 4 minutes. Stir in cream and allow to simmer 1 more minute  until heated through, then serve.  Hope you enjoy!

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