Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tuscan Potato Sausage and Kale Soup

Since the weather here is still frigid, I wanted to make a hearty soup to take to the shelter.  I am trying to hold down expenses as much as I can so I thought I would look in my freezer and see what I already had that I could use. 

Oh the shame....I came to a startling realization....I am a sausage horder!  I must have had 25 pounds of sausage tucked away.  I live in sausage heaven.  Every local butcher makes their own and they all take great pride in their special recipes. Obviously I can't contain myself when I see it for sale and I buy it is large quantities.

I had a lot of potatoes and some heads of cabbage which were perfect for this soup.  Not only are the fresh vegetables a good addition for the shelter, they really stretch the recipe.

I sauteed bacon and set it aside to drain.  Then I sauteed diced onions. carrots and celery in the bacon grease and added all of the bulk ground sausage I had.  Some of it was hot Italian sausage, some was plain pork sausage and I also added some chorizo which provided flavor as well as a good color. I added about 6 quarts of chicken stock I had in the freezer and some concentrated stock to add flavor. I added water until everything was covered.

I sliced 20 pounds of potatoes using my mandoline and chopped 3 heads of cabbage.  Obviously if you want to try this recipe you should cut it down to about 1/5th of this! The soup simmered for a couple hours until the potatoes were tender and started breaking apart.

I turned the soup down to a simmer and added the diced bacon and 2 large bunches of fresh kale along with salt and pepper to taste.

I sliced up all of the rest of the sausages.  I had kielbasa, knockwurst and  bratwurst.
After it simmered for a while I added some cream and half and half.  You could use whole milk instead but when I am cooking for people that are living on the streets and it is 5 degrees outside, the extra fat helps them to stay warm.  This made 50 quarts.  It was served with the cornbread I showed yesterday.  I hope these recipes are not too boring for you.  It's just what I am up to these days and if I don't post this, I would have nothing else to show.  Once it warms up I will be cooking for the shelter less days a week as I need to concentrate on my garden so I will eventually have other things to show!  Plus, these recipes are good enough to make at home in smaller quantities if you want to try any of them.

Much to my delight, this is what I saw when I opened my front door this morning.

This is when you know it is really cold outside.  The snow melt was not working too well.  The whole driveway is on the system but you can see it was still mostly covered in snow.

We got about 6 inches.

Teddy at her early morning post.  She listens for other dogs who have been let out in their yards and then she barks to them.  Sort of like puppy smoke signals.

The snow melt worked on the patio which made Teddy very happy.  She loves to lay on a warm patio when it is freezing outside.