Monday, October 05, 2009

Zuppatoni

Blame The Boy for the title of this recipe. I found an Olive Garden recipe for their Zuppa Toscana online, but after many pots of soup, I've adapted the recipe into something much healthier and more delicious. Really. Better than actually going to the restaurant.

Cast of Characters:
1 pound turkey sausage or ground turkey with Italian seasoning
1 good bunch of kale (think two big fistfulls)
5 medium Russet potatoes (the cheap ones at the grocery store in the 5-lb bag)
1 cup heavy cream
2 liters of water (big pitcher full)
5 bouillon cubes or 5 teaspoons of the loose powdered stuff, low-sodium is fine
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 medium onion (I use a heavy tablespoon of the dry onion flakes)
1 tablespoon bacon bits or about two strips of cooked bacon minced
salt and pepper to taste

Necessary Evil (I hate doing the dishes, so I keep this to a minimum)
large stock pot
regular skillet
big spoon for stirring
meat stirring/breaking up implement
knife for chopping potatoes
cutting board for potatoes
brush for scrubbing potatoes
hands for measuring, tearing kale

Order of Play:
Fill stock pot with water a bit over half full. Add bouillon, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, and onion, and then bring to a boil. While that's getting warm, preheat a skillet and lightly brown the sausage and chop down to nickle-sized pieces. I add the bacon bits to the meat when most of the turkey isn't pink anymore. Turn off the heat, but leave the meat where it is. It won't go bad sitting on the heat for thirty minutes while the potatoes cook. Once the water is boiling and the potatoes have been scrubbed and chopped into small chunks (bigger takes longer to cook and is harder to eat, you be the judge), add the potatoes to the broth. Simmer for about a half-hour or until the potatoes are tender. Add the meat to the soup. Add the cream. Bring to a boil again, and then add the kale. From this point, I suggest at least five minutes for tender kale. It won't go soft, trust me. It's better when it's just a little bit limp and a little bit crunchy. Feeds about four hungry people or two really hungry people and two bowls of leftovers (which are just as good!).

What makes my soup better than the Olive Garden's?
1. mine is cheaper
2. mine is made at home
3. I used turkey sausage instead of pork which cut out a ton of fat and grease
4. fresh kale, not canned/reheated = yummy!
5. my potatoes aren't mushy
6. leftovers!!!
7. I can control the amount of cream, and could substitute milk if I was really watching my weight (though the cream is just so much better)
8. served HOT, not lukewarm
9. OG's soup is all pre-cooked and canned
10. sanitation is never, ever a question in my kitchen

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