Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

One of the soups we regularly make is this sausage, kale and potato soup.  It’s pretty similar to the Zuppa Toscana at a certain major chain restaurant, but now that we can make it at home, we have no really incentive to go to said chain. I have found many variations of this recipe all over the internet, and after several repetitions and fine tuning, this is the version that we prefer.  It’s a very easy soup to season, as most of the seasonings come from the sausage itself.  We have made this with both fresh and frozen kale, and it’s good with either.  Also, I typically make this with russet potatoes, but we had some red skinned potatoes I needed to get rid of, so that’s what I used for the photo.  The recipe is pretty flexible.

Soup!

Soup!

Ingredients

1 lb bulk Italian sauce (I use hot, if you don’t want it spicy, stick with mild)

1 large white onion, chopped

2 bunches kale (or one 10oz bag of the pre-cleaned kale in the produce section, OR one similarly sized bag of frozen kale)

8 cups chicken broth (low sodium, or homemade)

2 cloves garlic

3-4 russet potatoes, halved, sliced and split, or 6-7 red skinned potatoes

1/4 cup heavy cream

Salt, pepper and red pepper flake, to taste

Method

Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat, and brown the sausage.  Once the sausage is brown, add the onions and let them cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another 30 seconds or so.  Pour in the stock or broth.  If you have bunches of kale, clean, stem and rip the kale into bite-sized pieces.  Kale can be a gritty, sandy veggie, so be sure you wash it well.  Add your kale to the broth and stir it in.  It may seem like your kale is exploding out of our cooking pot, but don’t worry.  It wilts quickly, and you will suddenly have a lot more room for more kale.  Once the kale is in and wilted, add your potatoes and a good pinch of salt.  If you are using mild sausage and want a little bit of heat, or are using spicy and want a lot of heat, add in a pinch of red pepper flake at this point.  Lid the soup and allow it to come to a simmer.  Once your potatoes are cooked, add the cream and adjust your seasonings.  Serve with crusty bread.

Edit January 2016:  I find that this soup is improved by cooking the potatoes about 90% of the way before adding the kale the soup.  Then, add kale, wilt and allow to soften, 15-25 minutes, depending on your kale.  Finish with cream, adjust seasoning and serve with bread.

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