On the Monday of Hurricane Sandy's reign, things were almost eerily calm in the morning, so Jeff and I took the opportunity to make a quick trip to the supermarket -- he wanted bacon with breakfast and I had a hearty soup for dinner on the brain. We got supplies and got back home before the winds picked up. I whipped up French toast topped with Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery's new maple and sea salt butter and a side of crispy bacon, which -- with a little snacking throughout the day -- held us over until dinnertime.
Later in the afternoon, Jeff's sister and brother-in-law came over because they had lost power. The four of us gathered at the table along with Jeff's parents and played a few rounds of Apples to Apples and Pass The Popcorn. Then we put on a movie, and halfway through it, I started making my hearty soup. I figured everyone might want some, including Jeff's nephews, so I made enough to serve eight, expanding on the original recipe. By the time I was done, I had a pot full of richly flavored sausage soup with chunks of potatoes and sweet potatoes, onions and carrots, mini farfalle, and baby kale. It was warm and comforting, and just the thing to stand up against the pounding rain outside.
While I hope we don't see another hurricane any time soon, I'd suggest making this soup to brighten a dark and rainy evening.
Italian Sausage, Potato, And Kale Soup (adapted from Everyday Food, November 2012)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch lengths
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and pepper
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
5 cups chicken broth, plus 1 cup if necessary
2 cups water
3 cups mini farfalle
5 cups (5 ounces) baby kale
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Italian bread, cut in thick slices, for serving
In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic, and cook until onion is softened and translucent, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add sausage and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, sweet potato, 5 cups of chicken broth, and water.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in farfalle and cook for 3 minutes less than package instructions. Stir in kale and simmer until greens are wilted and pasta is tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth, if desired (depending how brothy you like your soup). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve, passing Parmesan and bread separately.
I set the soup on the table, Jeff's mom filled everyone's bowls, and suddenly everyone was quiet, happily eating. I consider that a success. This soup was filling enough to make a complete meal along with a slice of bread for mopping up the broth. It was just salty enough, deeply savory, and dare I say healthy, with all those great nutrients from the kale and sweet potato.
One note on this soup: It's best if you serve it right away, otherwise the pasta can overcook and start to soak up the broth.
What are your favorite hearty soups?