Zuppa Toscana

We are entering soup season, am I right? Soups evoke the beauty of family, cozy togetherness, and comfort in a bowl. I see soups as a sign of love to our families and friends as we invite them to the table.

You may or may not know that I was born in Honduras. These crisp fall evenings cozy with fog and blistering winds was not something I knew there. But soups I did know. They were our Sunday lunches, a special treat normally made by my dad. Oh they filled my tummy but mainly they nourished my soul. They also made me sweat buckets, you see in Honduras soups are not a cozy fall dish, they are an all year round all weather staple.

This Zuppa Toscana will add cozy and light to any fall evening, winter night, spring day, or even summer get together. But for us here in the Northern hemisphere, I invite you to set your table, light a candle, and let your tables nurture your health and open your heart to others as you break bread together.

Ingredients

4 strips of bacon
2 lbs of mild Italian pork sausage*
2 lbs red potatoes or 6 large red potatoes*
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 crushed red pepper
1 tsp of oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp of salt, plus salt and pepper to taste before serving
6 cups of broth
1 bunch of kale*
1-2 13.0z cans of coconut milk full fat

For Serving

Shaved parmesan, Manchego, or your favorite aged cheese
Crusty bread and a favorite salted butter

Instructions

  1. Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables. Dice the onion, chop the potatoes into larger chunks, remove the kale leaves from the stems – discard the stems and coarsely chop the kales leaves.
  2. As your are chopping and prepping, heat a large pot on medium heat and cook the two slices of bacon. Let the bacon get crispy but be careful it doesn’t burn. When the bacon is cooked to your liking remove it and set it aside, it will crisp up even more as it cools. (If you don’t eat bacon you can add a table spoon of olive oil to the pot to complete step 3.)
  3. Add the onion to the same pot, about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent and smells amazing. Add the sausage and brown in until it renders excess oil, drain the oil but leave some for taste.
  4. After you drain the oil add the garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, and fennel seed. Cook them together for about 3 minutes so the flavors penetrate the meat.
  5. Add the potatoes, the bay leaves, and broth. If need be, add a bit more broth until it covers most of the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 10- 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add the cans of coconut milk and bring the heat down to low for about 5 minutes. Right before serving, add the kale and cook until the kale is bright green and has softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with grated cheese and warm crusty bread for added coziness. (Unless you are doing Whole 30 then skip the cheese and bread.)

Notas

*This soup tastes even better when shared with friends, this is why I give you the doubled portions to make a large pot of soup.
*You don’t have to use bacon for this recipe.
*You can use Italian chicken sausage for this recipe. You can also use just sausage without any flavor – but play around with the salt and pepper because plain sausage can be bland.
*This recipe is Whole 30 compliant if you use Whole 30 compliant bacon and sausage. (I find both of these at Whole Foods) Also, leave the cheese off and skip the bread to be Whole 30 compliant.

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