January 14, 2014 by branchingfig
P. came down with a bit of a cold this week, and when that happens I can’t help but morph into overprotective-nurture-and-must-make-soup mode.. With polar winds circling much of the US lately, and round 2 set to strike later this week, this seemed like a perfect time to share this hearty recipe.
If you – or anyone in your home – thinks soup is too ‘meh’ and should never be considered a main dish, this is the soup to change your tune. P. used to try to hide his disappointment whenever I made soup for dinner.. but as a soup-lover and daughter of soup-lovers, I’ve been working to change his mind with extra-hearty and flavorful (yet super nutritious) soups. He’s coming around, and the soup-averse person in your life can too.
This recipe is super flexible (can be used as an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink variety), but the ingredients I used in this version are also rich in antioxidants, and perfect for fighting off the first signs of a cold. It’s also got a bit of a spicy kick to it, which will help clear out your sinuses in a jiff. If you don’t believe me, see below for some of the ingredient’s antioxidant properties. This is essentially a much better tasting EMERGEN-C or Airborne in soup form.
Kale – an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, & K. Kale also has lots of minerals, fiber, and antioxidants associated with anti-cancer health benefits. There’s a reason they call it a superfood.
Carrots – a tasty source of the antioxidants beta-carotene, polyacetylene, and Vitamin A, among other minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Beta-carotene and Vitamin A also help the liver flush toxins from the body.
Acorn Squash – winter squash is one of the best sources of beta-carotene and a good source of Vitamin C, as well as many minerals and dietary fiber.
P. isn’t a big fan of the sweetness of butternut squash, so I’ve found that the more subtle, nutty flavor of acorn squash better suits his palate. If you prefer a bit more sweetness in your soup, you can easily substitute butternut squash.
Turnip – like most of the ingredients in this soup, this is a good source of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, & K as well as flavonoids, other vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Turnips also give soup an almost earthy depth and savory deliciousness. By the time you eat the soup you won’t realize you’re eating a turnip, but the flavors will meld into the soup and leave you coming back for seconds.
Broccoli – a major source of the antioxidant flavonoid kaempferol, beta-carotene, and Vitamin K, broccoli is a unique anti-inflammatory veg that’s actually been proven to help reduce allergy symptoms.
But the best part of this soup, is that you won’t even realize it’s good for you, because it tastes so darn good.
Hearty Sausage & Veg Soup
Yield: 10 – 12 servings (aka a LOT of soup)
Time: About 45 minutes – 1 hour of cooking time, not including prep
- 1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 5 raw Italian sausages (I recommend 3 spicy Italian sausages, and 2 sweet Italian, but you can tweak this according to your spiciness preference)
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
- 8 kale leaves, chopped (kale will wilt a lot, so chop them a bit bigger than you think you need)
- 1 turnip, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 big broccoli with thick, long stems (this will turn into over 1 cup of chopped broccoli stems, and about 3/4 cup of broccoli heads)
- 1/3 box of Ditalini pasta (or you can substitute another type of noodle, quinoa, rice, or orzo)
- 1 acorn squash, roasted and chopped
- 1/4 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons Chicken consomme, or 1 chicken bouillon cube (I highly recommend Osem brand Chicken consomme.. It’s not too salty and has a rich savory-ness that most consomme and bouillon don’t have. I use it all the time..)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (also a superfood with antioxidant powers!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a big pot (use a 4.5 quart or larger pot.. trust me you’ll need it) over medium high heat. Once the olive oil has heated up, brown the chopped onions.
- After a few minutes, throw in the diced garlic and the chopped carrots and let the yummy smells make you want to do a jig for a few minutes more.
- Add the chopped turnip. Wait a couple of minutes, then add the chopped broccoli stems (hold off on adding the broccoli florets). Add the spices and the chicken consomme, and mix it all up.
- Turn the heat on high, and add the broccoli florets, and the roasted chopped acorn squash. Add water to fill up your pot a little over 3/4 of the way (just make sure to leave room for the pasta, sausage, kale, etc.). Cover the pot and wait for the soup to come to a boil.
- Take your raw sausages and use a knife to cut a long seam in the casing of each. Take all the raw sausage filling out of the casings, and throw the casings away. (Make sure not to do this in the same workspace as your veggies!) Mush the sausage filling a bit with your hands (of course, clean your hands before/after touching the raw meat)
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. Once the oil’s hot, put all the sausage filling in the pan, and use a wooden spoon to continuously break up the sausage filling into small chunks, and make sure the meat cooks evenly.
- Once the sausage filling is fully cooked, scrape all the meat into the soup pot.
- Add the uncooked Ditalini noodles to the soup pot.
- Once the soup has boiled, lower the heat to medium or medium-low, and add the frozen corn and frozen peas.
- Wait a few minutes, then add the kale. Mix it in, and let the kale wilt a bit.
- Serve and enjoy!