Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sausage Vegetable Soup - Using Garden Produce

I just had a friend ask for my recipe for Sausage Vegetable Soup. So I thought I'd go ahead and post it here in case anyone else is interested. I generally make this about three times a month this time of year because it uses lots of our garden vegetables.

I originally found a recipe on allrecipes. No surprise there for you regular readers, right? And I modify it based on what's on hand or what I need to use up.

Here's what I do:

1 pound Italian sausage (mild, spicy, organic - whatever you like)
1.5 cups chopped onion
1.5 cups sliced carrots
1 celery stalk with leaves, chopped
1 T. fresh, chopped garlic
1 t. basil
1 t. rosemary
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/4 t. sage
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounce) or 2 cups of rough chopped tomatoes
5 cups chicken broth
1 can kidney beans, drained (16 ounce) or 2 cups of zucchini
1 cup uncooked pasta shells or two potatoes, chopped small

1. Brown the sausage in a big pot, breaking it into bite sized pieces. Add the fresh garlic so the meat gets flavored.
2. Stir in 3.5 cups of chopped veggies (onion, carrots, & celery) depending on how much you have of what. Cook for 10 minutes to soften.
3. While the veggies cook with the meat add the dry spices: basil, rosemary, sage, & crushed red pepper. The red pepper is imperative for the flavor of this soup - don't leave it out. If you don't like spice, just use a pinch but you've got to add it.
4. Add tomatoes. I just chop up 2 cups worth or more from the garden.
5. Stir in broth - I generally just use 4 cups (because all my stock is measured in 2 cup portions in my freezer) and add a little water if needed.
6. Stir in beans. I usually don't use beans, but chop up a big zucchini or two small ones. In the winter when I don't have fresh zucchni I'll use beans. If you use beans, let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes. If you use zucchini, add it in the last five minutes, not at this point or it'll get overcooked.
7. At a simmer, add 1 cup of pasta. I usually use a tiny pasta, like ditalini or acini de pepe. If I need to use a potato or two, I'll use those instead, chopped small, but not both. Reduce to low heat and let cook for 8-10 minutes.
8. I like to serve it with a little grated parmesan. Yummo!

I also sometimes add a small can of tomato sauce for a little more flavor if I run out of or don't have enough chicken broth.


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