This black Friday I had thoughts of being smashed in crowds, or having my eyes glued open while I stalked amazon.com for extreme deals that I just HAD to have. I thought I'd spend copious amounts of money on Christmas presents, or knife sets for myself, or buying DVDs that were only $5. Nope. Not this year. Instead, I woke up feeling ill, but next to an even ill-er husband. He had a terrible cold, and actually slept until 3 in the afternoon. Poor thing. I had to make do with my stomach bug. After a nap, however, I felt much better. But my poor husband was feeling terrible. He requested I make chicken noodle soup, and I told him that would be fine.
I left to go to the store, and as I was walking around, I realized I was just not in the mood for chicken noodle. Brandon loves the zuppa toscana at the Olive Garden. I know how many people despise the Olive Garden. It's not authentic, it's got boring food, it's not home made, whatever. I really don't care if they take this soup out of a can, I love it. It's spicy, it's got sausage, it's creamy, and there are potatoes in it. Oh, and cheese. Works for me, and definitely works for him too. So I decided to go for it. I knew the essentials of what was in the soup, and I looked up a few knock off recipes (love smart phones.). In all honesty, it's a very easy soup to make, and most of the recipes were very similar. Kale, cream, chicken broth, sausage, potatoes. It's not really much more than that. I added a lot of red pepper (he loves it spicy) and bacon. It was a perfect meld of flavors, and it made so much soup. It keeps very well. The creaminess of the broth and the softness of the potatoes was just lovely. My husband couldn't taste most things that day, but he said he certainly tasted the spice and the sausage :) The next day he could taste and he raved about it, but that just goes to show you, it's got some kick. So if you don't care for it being that spicy, just cut back on the red pepper, or use only sweet Italian sausage, with a little red pepper, instead of the mix of hot and sweet. I served it garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a hunk of roasted garlic and olive oil bread.
Time from start to finish: about an hour
1 lb. mix Hot and Sweet Italian Sausage, out of the casing/ground
10 cups Chicken Broth (or bullion cubes with water)
1 head Kale, rinsed and chopped well
4 cloves Garlic, minced or grated
6 strips Bacon, cubed
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Vidalia Onion, chopped
1/4 cup of Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
3 large Russet Potatoes, sliced 1/4 of an inch thick
1 Tbsp Oil
3 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmigiano Reggiano for topping the soup
Put your oil in a large skillet and heat to medium. Cook your sausage with 1 Tbsp red pepper, salt and pepper until it's no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Transfer your sausage to a bowl and cover and refrigerate. In the same skillet, put in your bacon. If necessary, add another splash of oil to the pan. Once your bacon starts to render a little bit (about 2 minutes), add your onion. Saute until the onion is almost translucent, about 4 minutes. Once it is close to translucent, add your garlic and mix everything together for about 30 seconds. Your bacon won't be crispy. Transfer the mixture to a high stock pot*. Turn the pot on medium high heat and add in your stock, salt and pepper, and remaining red pepper. Let the mixture come to a boil, then add your potatoes. Let cook until your potatoes are almost fork tender, roughly 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low and add in your kale and chilled sausage and half your parsley. Cook the soup for another 10 minutes and add the cream. Stir it in, and heat until the cream has just warmed through, and serve topped with remaining parsley and cheese.
*If you don't mind your soup being a little discolored, you could do this whole process in your pot that you'll be cooking your soup in. Sausage is very greasy, so you'll already have a little bit of grease in your soup. I just didn't want the whole soup greasy. But if you don't mind, go for it. All the more flavor!