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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Italian Potato Soup

Although it has been warm and sunny, here in southern California we have been forewarned that it may rain later this week. In preparation, let's take this pile of fresh-from-the-farm, good-for-you, chock-full-of-vitamins vegetables and make a soup that no one can resist.

Look at all that nutrition on our cutting boards. Don't you just feel so healthy already? 

Shall we begin? (this recipe is modified from the Italian Potato Soup recipe from Abundant Harvest Organics).  Once we're done cooking, we can refrigerate it for a couple of days before serving, if we wish. Soup often tastes better after a day or two, I believe. Of course, there is no need to wait, either. Enjoy it straight from the stove if you prefer!

First, dice an onion and saute it with a 3-4 cloves of diced garlic in a big soup pot, until it is soft.

Take it out of the pot, and set it aside for now. Next, break up a pound of Italian sausage into little pieces, and cook it in the soup pot until it is browned. Drain the fat from the sausage.

Cut 5-6 potatoes up into small pieces, and add them to the sausage.

Cook the potatoes and sausage together for another 5 minutes. 

Add the onions and garlic back in, along with a quart of chicken stock, and 2 1/2 cups of water. (If you have saved any water from steaming or blanching or boiling veggies, now is the time to use it. If not, plain water will do.) It's now time to give our potatoes and sausage some flavor. Chop a bunch of parsley and a bulb of fennel, and add them also.

Let this all come to a simmer, for about 10 minutes. Now that it is looking like bona fide soup, let's make it even more nutritious. Add in a bunch of spinach, loosely torn.  Since spinach is so darn sandy, it works well to rinse each leaf, tear it, and throw it in the pot still dripping wet. There is no need to pat dry or relegate it to a salad spinner.

Let the soup simmer with the spinach added for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of half and half into each bowl of soup before serving, and top with shredded parmesan cheese.


Italian Potato Soup:

olive oil for sautéing
1 large onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
5-6 potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 lb. Italian sausage, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 quart chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 bunch parsley, chopped finely
1 bunch spinach
salt and pepper to taste
half and half
parmesan cheese for garnish

Saute onion and garlic in soup pot until soft. Remove and set aside. Brown sausage in soup pot, drain fat. Add potatoes and saute for 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic back into soup pot. Add chicken stock and water, parsley and fennel. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add rinsed spinach and simmer another 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, drizzle a teaspoon or two of half and half, and garnish with parmesan.