Happy Winter! As much as I dislike like the cold, this is the BEST season for warming yourself up with a yummy bowl of soup, and boy, do I have a yummy and SIMPLE recipe for you today! I ‘cheat’ making some chicken noodle soup …
Tag: hitchcock at home
Ugh, Winter 🥶
The cold weather makes me crave warm, hearty, comforting soups. I am talking almost everyday. As a bonus, I find soup incredibly easy to make and there are so many varieties to make and keep your cooking adventures exciting. This particular pick is a very meaty and savory soup filled with, you guessed it, Sausage and Kale and white beans! I take delight in finally sharing this yummy concoction 😊
Ingredients: roughly a pound of italian sausage, one onion (white or yellow are both good), one big bunch of Kale, 3+ cloves of garlic (I used 6!!!), one can of white beans (whatever you have handy–navy beans/cannellini beans/pinto beans/great northern beans allllll work!), one quart of store bought chicken broth, about 1/2 cup half and half, and shredded parmesan cheese to finish :).
The sausage is nothing fancy. I picked up a 5 pack of mild italian sausage links from my local supermarket and take them out of the casing myself. Personally, I choose to buy the links over the bulk sausage for the simply selfish reason the links are an 18 ounce package and the bulk is a 16 ounce package for the exact same price. Taking the sausages out of the casing is so easy too! All you need to do is carefully score the sausage casing end to end and pull it away from the meat (see my example about 35 seconds into the above video).
If you want a bit of extra heat then maybe the hot italian sausages will be your pick! Or you can add a pinch (or three) of red pepper flakes 🙂 Simple swaps will make this recipe your own in no time!
Mise en place is a necessity for all recipes. Preparing all the ingredients before you start cooking and the cooking will be much easier overall because all of your ingredients are ready ahead of time! I have a tendency to prep/chop ingredients in the order they will be used. I think subconsciously it helps me prepare the recipe in my head and practice the steps before I start.
Onions and garlic are two STAPLES in my house. I LOVE THEM and always have more than I need on hand.
Part of the simplicity of this recipe is the lack of needing to measure anything! I use a whole onion and give it a rough chop. In my opinion cooking for soup does not require absolute perfection when dicing veggies, especially when it comes to onions because the many layers will naturally separate themselves during the cook.
Garlic is a place where I like to use one of my cheater/unitaskers hand tools. I think I have the worlds best garlic press. I have had it for six years and have rarely gone more than a week without using it but it still looks brand new! In terms of how much garlic to use–you do you! As you can tell, I happen to immensely enjoy what garlic adds and I typically use 5-6 big cloves in a soup! YUM! As long as you have it around, I would recommend you use at a minimum of three cloves/three teaspoons.
Now for the elephant in the room. I know many people have a strong dislike of kale and my guess is it stems from a bad experience of overcooked bitter green. My favorite kale is Dino Kale. The leaves are super big and much less curly (and therefore easy to clean) than most of the standard green or red kale from the supermarket. A really great tip to clean the kale (and just about all other veggies) is to mix roughly 1/2 cup of vinegar and half a sink full of water in your just cleaned kitchen sink and let them soak–the dirt will separate and sink to the bottom of your sink! Easy Peasy!
Quick note: I choose to remove the stems in this recipe for quicker cooking and use them later in juice and or compost, but removing the stems is not 100% necessary.
Why I felt the need to ‘prep the beans’ on video (AKA using a can opener) I will never know. But when my sweetie gave me back the video edit and I saw that moment I laughed at myself until I cried. LITERALLY. Like I had to stop the video and go back because I was so distracted by myself!
Anyway, back to cooking!
I start by browning/frying the sausage first and doing the spatula thing to crumble the meat as it cooks. If there is a name for this, please tell me in the comments 😆 I like to get as much color on the sausage (without burning) as I can before I pull it out to cook the onions.
This next bit might gross some people out, but I really don’t think it should. I cook the onions and garlic in the rendered sausage fat in the same pot. The way I see it, instead of spending more to swap the natural rendered pork fat out for olive oil or avocado oil, I can keep the cooked pork fat (and flavor) while saving myself both a few cents worth of oil and a few minutes of time cleaning an extra dish!
Next: simplicity! Add the broth, beans, and cooked sausage, stir, and let everything warm up together and share the flavors each ingredient brings to the pot.
While this happens, I take a few moments to shred my own cheese. You do you–if pre-shredded cheese saves you time or you already have it in the fridge, by all means, use that! I have a tendency to buy my parmesan on sale and keep a block (or three) in the freezer.
Now trust me with the kale. Once the soup is throughly warmed thru (no need to get this to a roaring boil) you can add the kale. It is voluminous at first and will look like WAAAAY too much when you first add it to the broth. BUT, you wouldn’t have made it this far into the recipe if you didn’t trust me at least a little! The Kale will cook down, just like spinach! You can help the process along by gently stiring/folding/mixing it into the broth. With the heat on low I let the kale sofen into the soup for about five minutes.
Lastly and JUST before serving is when I add the splash of half and half. I guestimate myself to use about half a cup worth but in all honesty I have never measured this. I give the soup a quick stir, taste, and turn the heat off.
The soup is ready to dish up and top with a sprinkle of cheese!
Another recipe note–you may have noticed (or not) that at no point have I salted or peppered anything yet. This is on purpose! Salt is semi naturally in the ingredients already–the sausage is wells seasoned to begin with, the broth is a canned (salt added) item, as are the beans, and the parmesan cheese topper is a slightly salty cheese. So, in my opinion this soup does not need more salt!
- 1 pack Italian sausage (bulk or links with casing removed)
- 1 diced onion (white or yellow)
- 3+ cloves diced garlic (I used 6)
- 1 big bunch Kale (I used Dino Kale)
- 1 can white beans (use whatever variety you have handy–navy beans/cannellini beans/pinto beans/great northern beans allllll work)
- 1 Quart store bought chicken broth
- ~1/2 cup half and half
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Mise En Place–clean/prep all ingredients
- Brown sausage and leave rendered pork fat in the pot
- Cook/soften onions in said rendered pork fat, add garlic after onions are softened
- Once you can smell the garlic (about 30-6- ish seconds after adding) you can add the chicken broth, canned beans, and return the sausage to the mix. Warm throughout–boiling is not necessary.
- (Optional) Shred cheese if using a block of parmesan
- Add kale ribbons and gently mix/stir/fold into the soup. Allow to soften/cook for fiveish minutes on a low heat
- Add half and half, stir to incorporate, turn off heat
- Dish up, top with parmesan, and…
I seem to have found myself on a bit of a tomato kick these past few weeks! I can explain! The tomatoes I have been growing all summer didn’t start producing ripe tomatoes until halfway thru August and have been going strong since! With the …
Sometimes you need a few slurps of a comfort food worthy hot soup. Sometimes you need to find something to do with five pounds of tomatoes that have ripened all at once! For years upon years growing up, I was convinced that tomatoes were yucky because tomato soup (from a can) was always so funky. This was of course the peak of my ketchup eating years and I was completely aware that it too was made from tomatoes. Regardless, knowing how to make your own tomato soup will definitely up your grilled cheese game! If my mom had served me this tomato soup, I probably would have been much better at eating my veggies as a kid!
Recently, my parent-in-laws bought a new house that came with quite the surprise come moving day: the garden plot was overrun with what seemed like hundreds of volunteer tomato cherry plants! Naturally foodie me rushed over at the first available moment to help alleviate the ‘problem’ …LOL!
Over the past two weekends between their volunteer tomato plants and the ones I have been lovingly caring for this summer, I was able to successfully harvest (at least) three pounds of tomatoes from their garden and a single tomato from mine.
Roasted Tomato Soup is a great way to use the abundance of tomatoes many of us have when everything in the garden seems to ripen all at once! I was able to use all of the cherry tomatoes from my in-laws garden plus a quart of my homemade chicken stock and the single tomato from my garden along with some basil and onions that I also grew! I also added about two pounds of meatier tomatoes from the farmers market to help thicken the end texture of the soup. In my opinion, you can really use any tomatoes you want.
As always, the first step is gathering all of your ingredients.
Once everything has been washed and cleaned, the tomatoes need to be cut to similar size pieces. For me, that meant halving the cherry tomatoes and dicing the roma and heirloom tomatoes. I am using about two thirds cherry tomatoes. The remaining third is the combination of roma and heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market.
The onions need to be cut also, but into bigger pieces to avoid burning in the oven. I am using half of a white onion leftover from another day of cooking along with three tiny onions that I pulled fresh from my garden.
Next, distribute the onions and tomatoes evenly between two baking sheets (cookie sheets with edges on all sides to prevent liquid spillage). Once distributed, add about a tablespoon of olive oil along with about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to each pan. I’d be willing to bet your little one would love to help with this since it means getting their hands dirty!
Mix thoroughly, then put both baking sheets in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
If your stock is frozen (like mine) you will probably want to get it thawing–I used a 6 qt dutch oven on low heat with a lid while the tomato combo was roasting.
Since the tomato combo will get to roast up for the next 45 minutes, this is a great time to start on any dishes you have already created! You get the double benefit of continuing to be productive in your kitchen, plus you have the awesome opportunity to enjoy all of the great smells as they create themselves!
Really, your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing while the tomatoes roast away and you will want to stick around just because it smells so good! You can tell the tomato combo is ready to pull from the oven when both the tomatoes and onions have softened drastically, begun to shrunk, and have taken on just a bit of color. The combo should slide away from the baking sheet very easily!
This next part is super easy! Add all of the tomato and onion combo to the warmed chicken stock! Make sure to get as much of the juice from the baking pans into the soup mix for the maximum flavor!
You have two options of how you blend this together. You can use an immersion (or stick) blender like me, or use a full size counter top blender. Both devices will get you the the same result–a lovely tomatoey puree. Personally I choose to blend with my immersion blender because it lessens the chance of me spilling hot liquids all over my kitchen and myself. I can be a bit klutzy in the kitchen at times!
Once the roasted combo has been blended (mostly) smooth, You will want to add your basil and blend again. I used one really big handful of fresh leaves from my garden; if using store bought basil, I would estimate you need the four ounce package most stores carry and remove the stems.
I recommended you let the soup rest for at least five minutes once the basil has been incorporated into the mix. The whole combo is a bit chunky now (sorry for lack of a more appealing word) and what I like to do is let the basil infuse itself into the soup. I would liken this to letting a bag of tea infuse the flavor into the water–same concept.
Once the basil is infused and your soup has an even better flavor, we can strain everything so it will be come a much smoother version of its current tasty self! (Note: if the texture of the basil and tomato seeds/skins do not bother you, this is an optional step.) I use a fine mesh strainer and a flexible silicone spatula, but a food mill if you have one would be perfect for this step! Basically I stir with and use the spatula to move whatever is at the bottom of the mesh strainer, and after a few minutes you end up with all of the yummy soup separated from the bits that keep the unstrained soup from having that perfectly smooth velvety mouthfeel we generally expect from a tomato soup. I put the strained bits into my compost bin.
I always add just a bit of half and half to this recipe. It really adds that extra something and keeps the tomato from being too bright and acidic. You don’t need much at all to accomplish this–about half of a cup will be plenty! Of course, heavy whipping cream can be a more indulgent addition, or 2% milk can add the flavor while keeping it on the lighter end! And if you are intolerant to dairy, you can omit it completely and still have a yummy soup!
And lastly, as with all of my favorite soup recipes, they freeze well! Today’s batch made about two and a half quarts total. I am freezing two quarts (each bag is about two servings) and keeping a 2-cup pyrex bowl for lunch!
Happy soup making!
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
- 4-5 Pounds of Ripe Tomatoes, rough chop
- 1 Medium Onion, rough chop
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste if needed
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Quart of Chicken Stock
- 1 cup/big handful of fresh basil (or 4 oz store package with stems removed)
- 1/2 cup of Half and Half (optional)
- Gather and wash all of your ingredients
- Dice tomatoes to relatively even sizes
- Chop onions to even sizes (but bigger pieces than tomatoes to prevent burning)
- Distribute tomatoes and onions onto 2 baking sheets, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt, and mix well
- Roast combo in oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees
- Add tomato onion combo to warmed chicken stock
- Blend well (immersion or traditional blender both work)
- Add basil and blend again, let sit for minimum five minutes to allow basil to infuse flavor into warm soup
- Strain chunks away (fine mesh strainer + silicon spatula OR use a food mill)
- Add half and half (optional)
- Enjoy now, or freeze and enjoy later!
- I think any type of tomatoes will work in this recipe, so use what is available and in season!
- Straining the chunks of basil leaves and tomato skin and seeds out is optional. I prefer a really smooth tomato soup.
- Also optional-the half and half. You can make your soup richer by using sour cream or heavy whipping cream, or lighter by using 2% milk or no dairy at all.
- I do not need dairy alternatives so I do not typically keep them at my house regularly, so I have never tried any alternative options in place of dairy. I imagine some could work, but a vanilla flavored almond milk would probably be a bad place to start!
I was making my Cinnamon Ice Cream a few days ago and started to wonder as I did my write-up, is it possible to Make Butter in an Ice Cream Maker?
Naturally, I wanted to find out if it was possible! I use some of my favorite kitchen gadgets to show you how Heavy Whipping Cream becomes Whipped Cream, then Butter! It is really easy! Let me know what you think