My good friend Erin Summerill, likes to drag me to the Olive Garden, or the OG, as she calls it. She seems to have a never ending supply of coupons to that place. Though I prefer other restaurants in town, like Pizzeria 712, I do like their soup with the sausage and kale, which they call “Zuppa Toscana.” Erin often makes it at home. I thought it was about time for another copycat recipe, don’t you?
If you haven’t guessed by now, the cookbook has me completely swamped. If I’m not up to my chin in flour and powdered sugar, I am either working on the manuscript for the book, or procrastinating with episodes of Downton Abbey. So to keep myself from only eating cookies and cake that I’m testing, I have started making soup at the beginning of the week, and then serving myself a bowl or two of it everyday.
Last week, I remembered Erin’s homemade version of the sausage and kale soup at the Olive Garden, and I made it myself.
sausage and kale soup
1 small russet potato, peeled and chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound sausage*
1 large onion, diced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 medium potatoes, chopped
2 15 ounce cans low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 large bunch kale, ribs removed, and chopped
1. Place the small russet potato in a small saucepan and cover with cool water. Set over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook until the potato is fork tender. Drain, and mash. Set aside.
2. In a large pot set over medium heat, cook the bacon until brown and crispy. Add in the sausage, and cook until partially browned. Stir in onion and bay leaves, and cook until onions are tender, about 12 minutes. Add in garlic, potatoes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in chicken broth, and about 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, and add in reserved mashed potato. Stir in milk, cream, and kale, and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves, and serve.
*You can use any kind of Italian sausage you want. But you want to know a secret? I actually use Jimmy Dean’s all-natural sausage, which is supposed to be for breakfast. But I actually love it in this recipe. Who would have thought?