It seems that fall has fallen in most of the country. At least that’s the impression I’ve gotten from the seemingly countless number of cool weather recipes I’m seeing around the food community. I hear stories of chill mornings and rain. Tales of clouds and worries of frost.
We haven’t been so lucky yet. In my neck of the woods, temperatures are still in the 80′s and will probably be that way for the next week or so. But seeing the myriad of recipes out there had me in the mood for something a bit more in the spirit of the fall. For me, that means soup.
Now, I’m not talking about some wimpy broth with a few bits floating around in it, mind you. When I think soup, it needs to fill you up. With three boys in the house a weak soup with little sustenance would get me about 10 minutes before they were clamoring for more. It doesn’t cut it.
No… This soup needed some heft. It also needed some heat.
With a little inspiration from a soup I made very early in my blogging career and whatever ingredients I could find in my ever-diminishing pantry, I set out to make something that both I and my boys would enjoy and would fill the void until morning. The heat was a given. Since the sausage that I had was already of the hot variety, I figured I’d boost the heat a bit more, which would help to beat the still-warm temperatures outside.
The croutons were an afterthought that stemmed from two baguettes having gone stale. I had originally planned to serve this with just big hunks of bread to sop up the broth with, but I’m glad I changed plans. The addition of the crunchy bread was welcome indeed, and a whole loaf disappeared as dinner progressed.
In the end, I think it came out extremely well. Both older boys devoured a sizable amount and the leftovers were tackled just as quickly. The flavors are bold, almost brazenly so, but refined enough to make this a very enjoyable soup. And hey, you’re free to leave out the red pepper flakes if you’d like a bit less heat. That’s entirely up to the tastes of you and your family.
- 1 pound hot Italian Sausage
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, cut in bite-sized pieces
- 2 carrots, cut in bite-sized pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 32 ounces water
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups petite whole green beans (frozen)
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Croutons (Optional)
- 1 baguette, sliced
- Olive oil
Crumble sausage into a large skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally, breaking the sausage into bite-sized chunks with a wooden spoon or spatula as you go. When sausage is nicely browned and the center is no longer pink, remove from heat and drain. Discard grease and set sausage aside, covered with a paper towel or plastic wrap so that it does not dry out.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. (About 6 minutes.) Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often for an additional 2 minutes.
Add chicken stock, water, oregano, basil, pepper flakes and potatoes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring liquid just to a boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are fork tender. (About 15 minutes.)
Add frozen green beans and cook until crisp-tender (about 3 minutes.) Add sausage and stir. Return soup to a bare simmer, test for seasoning and serve.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice a baguette into 1/4 inch pieces. Place sliced bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until crisp. (About 8 minutes.) Season or rub with garlic if desired. Serve with soup, salad or whatever you like. (Snack time anyone?)
Share and Enjoy!
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
I would have liked to see some zucchini or other squash in this dish, but I’m sure my kids appreciated the omission. And as a note, while this does store well, like any spicy dish it will be much spicier the next day, so if you’re planning ahead you might want to cut back on the red pepper a bit. Otherwise, it’s fantastic.
In-fact, I’m eating some now :)
Links to other recipes like this: