Friday, May 4, 2012

Souper Bowls!

Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Croutons
I adore the ease and flexibility of one pot meals. The very idea of getting a tasty and filling bowl balanced with protein, starch, and fresh veggies with such ease makes for one happy girl at dinner time. Cooking for two with conflicting schedules can be a challenge, so meals spent together are a treat. A huge pot of delicious leftover soup means sitting down to a quick meal together before one of us needs to run off to work or rehearsal. Plus, just like a fine wine . . . soups only get better with age!

- 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp. oregano, divided
- 2 tsp. dried basil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 c. thinly sliced shallots
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 c. dry white wine
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 2 qts. chicken broth
- 3 c. diced yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold
- 12 oz. flavored fully-cooked chicken sausage, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 old Parmesan rind
- 4 c. leftover good quality bread, cubed into 1 1/2" pieces
- grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Begin by roasting the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Spread halved tomatoes evenly on sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tsp. each of dried oregano and basil. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and roast in oven for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and begin to turn brown. Mix up the tomatoes about halfway through roasting time to help cook more evenly.

While the tomatoes are roasting, heat 2 more Tbsp. of olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots begin to brown lightly. Add the celery and carrots and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Turn heat to high and add wine to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon with scrape any browned bits from the pan. Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. When the tomatoes are finished roasting pour into the pot with their juices and turn down the oven to 350˚F.

Add the chopped kale, chicken broth, diced sausage, Parmesan rind, and potatoes to the soup pot and turn the heat to high to bring soup to a boil. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Once the soup is boiling partially cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer soup for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the flavors have began to meld.

While the soup simmers over low heat, line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl whisk together 2 remaining Tbsp. of olive oil with 1 tsp. salt, grated garlic, and remaining oregano and basil. Place the bread cubes in a gallon-sized freezer bag and then drizzle with the garlic and olive oil mixture. Seal the plastic bag and shake until the bread cubes are covered evenly. Spread oil-covered bread cubes evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until they croutons are dried out and turning golden brown.

After the soup has thoroughly simmered, remove from heat. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a little grated Parmesan cheese. Add several toasted croutons to each bowl. Eat up! It's delicious!

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