Friday, January 10, 2014

Foodie Fridays: Italian Sausage Kale Soup

Good gracious, it has been a cold week here, as it has in so many parts of the nation!  The cold snap is finally moving off, but will be replaced by rain this weekend.  The only good thing I have to say about this weather is that it is perfect for soup, and the Italian Sausage Kale Soup I made this week is a hearty and fairly healthy choice for a quick supper, a satisfying lunch, or even a warming midday snack.  My husband does not consider soup to be a main dish, so I list it as a side dish here, but this particular recipe could easily be supplemented with a grilled cheese sandwich to qualify as dinner even for him.  As for me, I could live on soup in the colder months, and this one would regularly be on the menu!

Italian Sausage Kale Soup

1 T. olive oil
19 oz. Italian sausage (remove casings from links)
1 medium onion, diced
8 C. chopped fresh kale*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 C. white wine or chicken stock
1 carton (26 oz.) chicken stock
1 can (14-15 oz.) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-15 oz.) diced tomatoes
4 oz. (1/2 jar) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, diced**
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Brown the sausage with the onion in the oil until the sausage is no longer pink.  Remove the sausage-onion mixture and set aside.  If necessary, drain off all but 1/4 cup of the drippings.  Sauté the kale in the drippings until wilted.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute.  Stir in the wine or stock and cook two minutes longer.

Return the sausage-onion mixture to the pot.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the kale is tender.  Serves 8.

*I bought a bag of microwaveable kale, so I left out the step of wilting the kale.  Add the cooked kale with the beans, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients.  Also, my sausage was very lean and did not give off much fat, so I would probably have had to add more olive oil to the pot to wilt the kale.

**The original recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil, but I only had the oil-packed ones and they worked just fine.

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