Sunday, April 14, 2013

Soup #14/Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

Soup soup and more soup. It seems we've been getting into a soup rut. And a chicken rut. It's not that we don't love soup, or cooking. It's that chicken is easy and quick, and there are a lot more recipes involving chicken and soup. Well, and frankly, after balancing work and life and home repairs chicken is just faster - something we can whip up quickly and still love how it tastes. 

But this week we are breaking away from our rut, at least for this soup. I had seen a similar recipe a few months back that got me thinking, but then I forgot about it until last week when I stumbled onto this post from Shutterbean, and I thought - "I can do that!" and so I did! (I've also fallen in love with the recipe page on Shutterbean - you should check it out here!)

What you will need: 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion - diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic -finely chopped
  • 1 lb of sweet Italian sausage - remove the casings (yuck!)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes  - peeled and cut into approx 1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups of chicken broth (we used one box of Kirkland broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups of pasta shells (about half a bag)
  • One head of kale - chopped
  • A handful of spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese to top it off!
How to make it:

In your soup pot (I used my Le Creuset French Oven - LOVE!), heat your oil on medium and add in the garlic and onion, stir until they begin to look clear. Add in your casing-free sausage and stir, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. This takes a bit of time and some arm strength, but keep going until the meat is browned throughout. 

Add in your sweet potatoes and chicken broth.  Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add your pasta shells and cook until the pasta is ALMOST ready, but not quite. Then add in your kale and spinach. Stir and cook until the pasta is ready and your leafy greens are a beautiful green. 

Serve into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese (and some red chili peppers if you are so inclined - as I was!). 

The Verdict: Success (I feel like I say that all the time, but it's true!). When I first told E that I was making "sweet potato soup" he instantly thought of something thick and pureed and I'm guessing he thought that sausage didn't quite work with a pureed sweet potato, or kale for that matter. But when he saw it and tasted it (and I must say this is the BEST part of this whole project - when he tastes my cooking) he was surprised. In a good way. He really really liked it! And I did too.

What we'd do differently: We actually didn't talk about this much while we were eating as we usually do. The one thing I can think of is that I would use a hotter sausage. Something with more spice. I think the original recipe I saw a few months back called for a Merguez sausage, which I have only enjoyed once in a gourmet hot dog, but I can see how that flavor would be so perfect with this soup. Or, you know, for ease of shopping and to protect the wallet a bit, maybe just grabbing the 'hot Italian sausage' instead of the 'sweet Italian sausage.'