Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Zuppa Toscana Soup

This is a wonderful recipe I got from a dinner group a few of my foodie friends and I did for a year or so while we were all single and wanted to try out new recipes on understanding friends. It is kind of a knock-off of the Olive Garden's well-loved soup of the same name. Don't let the kale in it lead you to believe it is extremely healthy...it's not. But it IS delicious. A good splurge once in a while. This is one of the only ways I have found yet to enjoy kale.  I have tried making this and substituting in lean ground beef and spinach for the sausage and kale before. It was tolerable but really not the same.

First, you start by chopping all the potatoes, garlic, and onions. Put these in a big soup pot and add the water and broth. Boil this until the potatoes are tender (between 15-25 min.).

 In the meantime, brown the sausage in a skillet (don't add cooking spray or oil or anything...there is plenty of fat in there, it won't stick). Break it apart into small pieces as it cooks. Drain off the excess fat (unless you really like to see pools of it in your soup) and set it aside in a bowl.

In the same skillet, but the bacon pieces and brown them. You don't need them crispy but you also don't want it super chewy. Again, drain excess fat and set bacon aside.

Add in the sausage and bacon to the soup when ready and simmer 5-10 more minutes.

Add the cream and kale and simmer for 5 more minutes. Note: Kale is more hearty than some other greens. I use spinach a lot in soups and once you add it to the hot liquid it shrivels up very quickly and cooking it very long just ruins it. Kale is not like this. It keeps it shape for the most part (ie. chop it into bite size pieces before putting it in, or else you will spend the next 5 minutes pulling it back out and chopping it more while your garlic bread in the oven burns and ruins the great smells you had going).  It also adds a great texture to the soup, so, two cups is plenty and it won't hurt it to cook in there for a while.

Finish off with a generous sprinkle of pepper and a little salt. You know how recipes always say "to taste"?  Well, just to warn you, I did end up using a good many turns from my pepper mill (I think it was about 15) and several shakes of salt to make it taste like Olive Garden's. Also, it looks like it makes a ton of soup, but trust me, 5 of us finished this off with no problem and no seconds.

Zuppa Toscana Soup
1 lb. spicy italian sausage (hot)
4 slices of bacon
2 large russet potatoes (scrubbed and diced)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 quart of water
2 cans (14 oz) of chicken broth
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Cook potatoes, garlic and onion in water and broth in large soup pot until just tender (15-25 min.). Meanwhile, brown sausage and bacon in skillet. Set aside. Once potatoes are cooked, add meats to the soup. Simmer 5-10 more minutes. Add in cream and kale. Simmer 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6

1 comment:

  1. my dad just texted me and said "I never knew I liked kale" after eating this. Made my day.