Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Zuppa Toscana

Special thanks to my friend Nicole, who provided the recipe for and inspired this amazing, spicy, tastes-better-than-the-version-at-Olive-Garden soup. This was super easy and fun to make. As usual with most of my concoctions, I went for the low-fat versions of just about anything. If you want to use pork sausage, heavy cream - go nuts. You won't hurt my feelings. But trust me, you won't taste the difference (it only counts when you're baking, which I don't do.)

You'll need:
8 1/2 cups (68 oz) chicken broth
1 pack ground hot turkey sausage
4 potatoes, halved and sliced (like moon shapes)
1 medium onion, diced small
2-3 large cloves garlic, diced small
2 cups kale, just the leafy tops, chopped (I found this to be about half of a large bunch that you get at Meijer. To disassemble the kale, just grab lightly against the stalk and rip upward. The leaves will pull right off)
1/3 cup fat free half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

Viva Italy!
1) Brown the sausage and onion in your soup pot over medium-high heat. You shouldn't need oil, as the fat from the meat will prove adequate. Drain if necessary and return to pot.
2) Add garlic and cook through for another minute. Careful not to burn the garlic!
3) Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. FAT ALERT: You might have to do some skimming as the additional fat seeps out of the sausage and to the surface of the broth. You can do this with a regular soup spoon. It will come right off, so don't be scared of it.
4) Add kale, stir through, and cook for another five minutes, or until kale is tender
5) Remove from heat, and stir in the half and half just before serving
6) Salt and pepper to taste - If you used low sodium organic broth, you might want to add some salt for flavor. I used regular broth, and only needed about a pinch of each. I also added some cayenne pepper flakes, because I'm crazy that way

Recommended Garnishes:
- Whole grain artisan bread, hot and crusty!

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