Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sausage and Kale Soup

We are so lucky in my town to have the privilege of being able to shop at two local Farmer's Markets that provide us fresh flowers, produce, and so much more.  We also have a gentleman that comes from about an hour away who is Mennonite, and he has his own stand on the other side of town once a week.  My family and I have visited his farm, and the way this family lives is truly amazing.  I know how hard gardening can be, the dirt and sweat and toil of the land, but they have it all figured out.  I respect them immensely for their dedication to their land, and for sharing it with those of us who make sure to visit them on Saturday mornings once the yearly harvest begins.

When you walk up to their stand, almost everything will have been freshly picked that morning; cobs of corn will be literally squeaking, potatoes will be freshly dug and washed of dirt, and the aroma of fresh basil will follow you at every turn.  Since I have a huge garden of my own, I often supplement my fridge with different varieties of veggies that I didn't plant, or buy tomatoes or beans in bulk for canning, and rhubarb to freeze for crisps.  But the best part is that they have fresh, organic meat.  The best of his offering is his specially seasoned breakfast sausage.  I buy at least three packages to keep on hand every time I'm there.

We usually brown some up for breakfast in an egg dish, mix it in with gravy to pour over warm buttermilk biscuits, crumble it onto homemade pizza, and add it to the sauce for our lasagna.  But this day, I used it to make "Sausage and Kale Soup". I have such an abundance of kale that just making "chips" won't suffice, so it will instead be added into this creamy soup and served with a loaf of hot, crusty bread.

This recipe received raves from the kid, which was good, because I'll do anything to get him to eat veggies. It makes a bunch, so we scooted some down the hill to Grandma and Grandpa so they could enjoy it as much as we did.

SAUSAGE AND KALE SOUP          Printable Version

1 pound seasoned breakfast sausage
6 slices bacon, diced
Olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, zested
32 oz. carton of beef broth
6 red potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground Ancho chili pepper (or more if you like things spicy)
3 cups kale, washed, dried, and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups half and half
1 c. fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided

In a large soup pot, crumble in the breakfast sausage, add the bacon, and brown over medium-high heat until cooked through. Pour the meat into a bowl, leaving any drippings in the bottom of the pot.  If your meat is lean, you may need to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  If so, add the olive oil, then add the onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the meat back into the pot.  Pour in the beef broth, add the potatoes, salt, pepper, dried oregano, and ground Ancho chili pepper.   Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the temperature to low.  Cover the pot and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.  Add in the kale, half and half, and 3/4 cup of the fresh Parmesan cheese, reserving the rest to top the soup when served.  Heat for about 5 minutes on medium heat until warm.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

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