Lately I've been trying to eat things other than Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy's and Meximelts from Taco Bell; luckily, recipes like this one make it pretty easy.
I came across this recipe over at Damn Delicious (love so many recipes over there!) and knew I had to try it, but I also knew I'd have to change it. I don't do spicy too well. No pepper flakes over here. So I made a few alterations - regular ol' sausage instead of spicy, no red pepper flakes, you know. Made it boring. Except...
I hastily read the ingredients and it turned out I doubled some of the herbs. I don't know what the soup would taste like if I hadn't, well, screwed up. But I imagine there's a good chance it would have tasted fairly bland. I was removing half the flavor. But it worked out because the mistake basically gave us a whole new recipe. I've made it a couple of times now, and there's no going back! I purposely continue to double the herbs because it's just so delicious that way.
We also changed up some of the other little details from the inspiration recipe. Instead of cooking the sausage for 3-5 minutes, I let it cook for around 10 minutes (my uncle insisted on this the first time I made it, because the sausage will become a lighter color when we add the broth, and he doesn't like that... it kind of makes it look like the sausage isn't cooked, even though it totally is). I'm not sure if it's because I used a different kind of pot than the original recipe, but every step took a little longer than originally called for - not complaining, it's still incredibly easy and relatively quick. Just something to make note of. I'd watch it the first time I cook it to get a feel for how long things need to cook in whichever pot you might be using.
Anyway, I love this soup. It's hearty and super flavorful. When I first made it there were over ten people at the house and every one of them liked it. That's saying something when you factor in a very picky eight year old. Also, I won't lie... most of my family has never been big on vegetables. We mostly stick to canned vegetables. (I'm trying to change this for myself, and have been trying all sorts of new recipes centered on veggies I'm not necessarily used to.) So it's a little Christmas miracle that everyone ate this soup without complaint - spinach does not usually go over well with them.
This soup is perfect for winter, but let's not pretend I wouldn't eat it up in the summer months, too.
This recipe makes about 6 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mild Italian sausage, no casing (roughly - I've used under a pound without a problem)
1 yellow onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1.5 teaspoon dried oregano*
1-1.5 teaspoon dried basil*
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups baby spinach (I usually throw in 3 handfuls)
1 pound red potatoes (again, roughly. We had a 5lb bag of red potatoes, so I used a fifth of them - between three and four decent sized potatoes)
5-6 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional, but I say go for it, the color is nice)
salt and pepper (optional)
*I could not find our teaspoons for measuring, so I used a regular teaspoon. Ya know, silverware. It shakes out to be about 1.5 teaspoons, maybe even 2. You do you.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add sausage, medium-high heat. Cook about 10 minutes (or less, if you don't mind it looking pink when you add broth later).
2. While sausage is cooking, mince garlic, dice potatoes, and weep as you dice that onion up, too.
3. Drain excess fat (I've been putting 4-5 paper towels on a plate, pouring the sausage onto it, letting the oil seep into the towels and then putting it back in the pot. This way you can just throw out the paper towels instead of dealing with a bowl full of oil.)
4. Throw in the garlic, onion, basil, and oregano. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring fairly frequently. (Also, it is not the end of the world if you cook it longer than 5 minutes. The original recipe called for this step to take 2-3 minutes, but my onions weren't even close to translucent after 3 minutes. The first time you make it, just observe and see how long it takes with your particular stove and pot.)
5. Add salt and pepper - optional. Unless you're using sodium-free broth, it'll have salt in it anyway.
6. Add five cups of chicken broth and the bay leaf. Bring it to a nice boil.
7. Stir in potatoes and cook about 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
8. Add spinach and cook until it wilts, about 1 minute. (Totally optional - if you think the broth is getting a little low or you're not happy with the consistency, go ahead and throw that extra chicken broth in now.)
9. Stir in heavy cream.
10. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, stir, and let cook for another 3-5 minutes.
(We then remove the bay leaf so no one has to eat it.)
Serve and enjoy! And let me know what you think.
(Again, this is adapted from this recipe right here.)