Tuscan soupIt seems I’m on a soup kick.  Nothing like a bowl of hot soup to warm you all over when there’s a storm outside.  Over the years I have amassed numerous soup posts on my blog; there’s something for everyone!  Soups are so versatile one can make according to what’s on hand.  My Tuscan soup follows some of the traditional ingredients. However, I have added Italian sausage and substituted cannellini beans and potatoes for cauliflower.

When making any soup, building the base is key.  Sweating the vegetables such as onion, garlic, celery, etc. builds the flavours of the soup.  Make sure the veggies are well chopped and think about whether or not they easily fit on a spoon.  Evenly chopped veggies cook at the same time.  There’s nothing worse than undercooked vegetables in a soup.  Season lightly and top up at the end of the cooking time if needed.  Most recipes will say soups need to come to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  That’s because you want the ingredients to keep their shape and cook without turning to mush or meat getting too tough.  Soups can last in the fridge for up to three days and up to two months in the freezer.

serves 4 to 6

453g (1 lb) Italian Sausage, meat removed from casing
2 to 4 slices of bacon, chopped (bite-size)
4 cups beef broth
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups cauliflower florets
½ cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped spinach
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese, grated

method

Grab a large soup pot and over medium heat add a splash of olive oil.  Brown sausage and bacon together.  Use a spoon to break up the sausage meat.  Then add onion, red pepper flakes, and garlic.  Stir and cook until the onion has become translucent.  Add beef broth and cauliflower.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes before adding frozen chopped spinach.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  When the cauliflower is tender, add heavy cream.  Stir and allow to reheat.  Taste the soup to determine if any seasoning such as salt and pepper need to be added.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

the culinary chase’s note:

Change spinach out for kale.  Enjoy!