The days for comfort food are dwindling down and with temperatures on the rise I knew I had to get in just a few more of those homey recipes before I start focusing on some lighter fare for Spring. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before how much I adore soups. I like them actually year round, reserving some of the heartier ones for the cooler months and reaping the benefits of the wonderful produce available in the spring and summer for creating fresh and light tasting ones.
I found the recipe for this soup a couple of years ago on Tasty Kitchen. The description mentioned that this soup comes pretty close to one that Olive Garden serves. Not being a fan of any chain restaurant, I actually can't vouch for this statement since I have never eaten there before. However, the ingredients sounded interesting and unlike any soup I had in my repertoire, so I gave it a go.
This dish has become a family favorite ever since the first time I made it. This is a nice "stick to your ribs" kind of recipe, which is perfect, especially on those cool evenings.
Talk about a pork feast. Spicy breakfast sausage, red onions and bacon add tons of flavor, especially when paired with garlic, Yukon gold potatoes and kale. The liquid base of this soup comes from chicken broth. I used a homemade one (I usually have some in my freezer) which adds some nice depth, but even a quality store bought kind will do the trick and works very nicely, especially when short on time. A little bit of heavy cream added during the last few minutes of cooking adds richness and rounds out this fantastic soup.
The first time I made this recipe, I really wasn't sure how Kale would go over with the family, but everyone ended up loving it so much, that I have been increasing the amount of Kale by quite a bit more. This in turn really helps me justify the health factor of this dish. ;-)
This soup has it all. Flavor, spice, and creaminess without being too heavy. When paired with a nice loaf of bread or some bread sticks, it makes for a wonderful quick weeknight meal. Friends of ours who have actually eaten the Olive Garden version before thought this was even better than the original. I would say that is quite the compliment.
Spicy Tuscan Soup
~makes 6 servings~
1 pound spicy breakfast sausage
1 whole medium red onion, diced
3 slices bacon, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs.), peeled and diced
6 cups chicken broth
4 cups loosely packed Kale, cleaned
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Crumble sausage into a dutch oven over medium-high heat until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add red onion and bacon to dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions soften and bacon begins to crisp. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the diced potatoes and chicken broth. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are almost done. Return crumbled sausage back to the dutch oven.
Add the kale and let simmer for another 5 minutes or until kale is wilted and soft. Add heavy cream, warm through, but don't boil. Serve immediately.
Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen