Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicken Sausage and Kale Tuscan Soup

 When you live in Colorado, you jump whole heartedly into Spring. In late March, you begin to get some freakishly warm days. You bust out the flip flops, let the children roll in backyard dirt piles and begin dreaming about the bounty of vegetables that you will surely find in your garden in a few months. All the while, you know it's coming. You know that you will see one last snow storm but you don't acknowledge it. If you acknowledged it, then it wouldn't really be Spring. Today is our hopefully last snow storm. After a weekend of slight sun burns and 60 degree days coming in two days, we have a freakish day today. What do I do with a weird Colorado snow day? Make hearty soup and allow myself one last wintery meal.

I thought of this soup a couple of months ago, when I was day dreaming about Tuscan Florentine soup and then my sister called and told me about how she was treating herself by making Ina Garten's minestrone. I needed hearty soup and I needed a soup that had all the earthy goodness of Italy: tomatoes, veggies, spices, greens and slight spiciness and oily goodness from sausage.

Chicken Sausage and Kale Tuscan Soup
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano or italian seasoning
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1.5 lbs of bulk Italian chicken sausage
5 red potatoes, chopped
28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
16 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 small to medium head of kale, chopped
*Serve topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and crusty bread

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, black pepper and oregano. Saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the onions are translucent. Once the onions are translucent, add the rosemary and garlic and stir to combine.
Add the sausage to the vegetables and stir occasionally over medium heat for about five minutes until the sausage has slightly browned and crumbled.
Add the potatoes, can of tomatoes and garbanzo beans to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Cover with the chicken broth and simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. 

In the last twenty minutes of cooking, add the chopped kale to the soup to soften.

Serve the soup with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and, of course, some good crusty bread.