There is something so comforting about a big bowl of soup. It is literally like a hug in a mug. Or, maybe it is the fact that you can taste the love that goes into making a big pot of soup as it pours over from the ladle to the bowl. You can literally make a soup out of anything.
My mom often tells me stories about how her great-grandmother used to make, what she would call, “Sunday soup.” It would be comprised of a hodge-podge of whatever was left in the fridge from suppers that week. It would simmer all day long, tantalizing your taste buds every time you walked into the room. The reason they did this was because throwing away and wasting food was never an option. The soups often did not make much sense, like blending a lasagna together with baked potatoes, but it worked and the soup was always delicious.
However, for the sake of not rummaging through your fridges for an odd soup mashup, we will be making an Italian classic – Zuppa Toscana.
This is one of my favorite soups. It is a little spicy but yet with a smooth mouthfeel. It will fill you up without over-stuffing you… that is, if you don’t go back for a third (or fourth) bowl. It is full of healthy nutrients and of course, lots of flavor. And don’t forget, second-day soup is always better than the first. Oh, and make sure you get yourself a loaf of crusty bread to dunk into the bowl. You will thank me later.
Zuppa Toscana Soup
- 1 lb ground spicy Italian sausage
- 5 slices of bacon diced
- 1 tbls butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cups of diced red potatoes
- 1 bunch curly kale stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 pint of half and half
- 2 tbls cornstarch
- Salt and pepper
- Optional toppings: red pepper flakes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley
- Render the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Cook the sausage in the bacon fat being sure to crumble it as it cooks. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Add butter to the pan, let it melt, and then add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes until tender and translucent. Add garlic and thyme, season with salt, and cook until you can smell the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
- Next, add the potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, put the lid on, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add sausage back to the pot and cook another 5 minutes until potatoes are just about done!
- Stir in the kale and allow it to wilt and then stir in 3/4 of the cream.
- Make a slurry with the remaining cream and cornstarch. Add it to the soup and let it bubble until just slightly thickened.
- Add half of the bacon back to the pot, taste and season accordingly.
- Ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings
I want you to cook along with me! Be sure to tag me on your social media channels and use the hashtags #TheHangryDiaires & #GetHangry.
This recipe was also published in my food column, The Driftless Foodie in The Driftless Journal newspaper.