Sunday, December 8, 2013
Muppets and Soup
It's been really cold here, like 7 degrees cold. The high yesterday was 17. I know, some of you may be in colder places, but I don't think I'll ever get used to it. Have I told you how much I really dislike winter? I do, however, like the things that come along with winter, the holidays, heartier meals, roaring fires in the fireplace. All comforting things.
I started making this soup long before I knew it existed on the menu at Olive Garden. I just called it Sausage and Potato Soup, but theirs is called Zuppa Toscana. I do make mine a little different. Theirs has Italian sausage and kale. But I started making mine a long time ago with good ol' Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage. I guess it's a Texan thing. After all, Jimmy Dean sausage was started by a man named, you guessed it, Jimmy Dean. He was from a small town named Plainview, which is about 45 minutes from where I live in Lubbock. Mr. Dean was a country music singer and later had his own TV show, The Jimmy Dean Show, where he introduced the world to Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. Jimmy Dean also hosted a popular radio show, Town and Country Time, where supposedly Patsy Cline and Roy Clark got their starts in the country music industry. Interesting facts. This certainly wasn't where I was going when I started writing this post. But I have a tendency to wander in thoughts as I'm writing posts and start Googling other stuff when it comes to mind, such as what I just did here. I Googled Jimmy Dean.
So back to the soup. This soup is rich and hearty. It is definitely a splurge meal, since it has lots of butter and sausage. I did cut the fat a little by using half and half instead of heavy cream, but, by all means, use heavy cream if you aren't watching your waistline. My son ate two large bowls of this soup and managed to scoot every single piece of spinach to the side.
So, without any further rambling, I give you Sausage & Potato Soup.
SAUSAGE & POTATO SOUP
3 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
5 ounces fresh spinach
2 C chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
1 quart half and half
1 lb Jimmy Dean Hot breakfast sausage (in the tube)
1 stick butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C flour
Red chili flakes, to taste
Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Cook the onion in the butter until tender. Add in the sausage and cook and crumble until done and browned. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the sausage mixture and stir to coat. Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and cook a couple of minutes to thicken. Add in the garlic, half and half, and chili flakes. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the spinach leaves until they are wilted. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the potatoes.