Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup

A while back, on Pinterest I believe, I ran across a recipe for Kale and Spicy Sausage soup. I decided to check out the blog it came from, The Candid Appetite, and fell in love! Turns out he is a fellow WordPress user, and everything on his blog looks amazing! Not only is he a fabulous photographer (a little jelly there), but his recipes are mouth-watering!
This recipe stood out as something I definitely wanted to try when it got cold out. Clearly, it isn’t cold here in Southern California right now, its about 85° outside but whatever… My grandfather passed away last night and today my brain has been in a daze. He was really old and was battling liver cancer, so it was his time. He lived a wonderfully long and happy life but I digress. Cooking is the only real way I know how to let go and decompress. Everything else disappears, I relax, and I get into the zone. This soup was made with lots of love today.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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In a large cast iron pot heat one tablespoon of oil. While thats heating up I removed the sausage from its casing, then roughly chopped it into smaller pieces. Raw sausage is hard to cut so don’t worry too much about it. It will crumble as you cook it and break it up. Stir the sausage every so often, letting it brown on all sides. Once its fully cooked and brown, spoon out of the pot with a slotted spoon, and set aside. I usually put mine in the microwave so I’m not tempted to eat it all while I do other things. I promise, it’ll taste better IN the soup!

 

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As the meat browns, dice the onion and roughly chop the garlic. We are huge garlic fans in our house, so feel free to use less. I’ve also added garlic and onion powder to this recipe, so do what tastes good to you. I drained the fat out of the pot when the sausage was done, but DO NOT scrape the pot yet! You want all of that flavor to stay.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter. While the butter melts use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot. When you’ve gotten all of the yummies off the bottom add the onion and garlic coating it well with butter and flavor, let it cook for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Now you can add the seasonings; salt, pepper, onion, nutmeg (I know it seems weird, but Jon swears by it in his recipe, so do it!) garlic, and chili flakes.

 

 

 

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Kale is an awesome green that I use pretty regularly. Its so healthy for you, and tastes so great with just about anything! There are a bunch of different types, this is the most common.

At this point, you can remove the kale from its tough stems, you don’t want those in your soup. Rinse and chop it up into bite sized pieces then add it to the pot. I know it’ll seem like a lot at first, but kale (like spinach) wilts down tremendously. So you’ll want a LOT of it. Plus, its healthy and tastes yummy in the soup! You may need to add it in batches until you have room for it all. Mix it in with the garlic and onion until it turns bright green.

 

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While the kale wilts, clean the skin of the potatoes and slice into medium pieces. You want them all about the same size so they cook evenly and consistently. Add them to the pot, along with the cooked sausage (you almost forgot it was in the microwave, huh?). Mix everything together and add both boxes of chicken stock. Bring to a boil slowly so the potatoes have time to cook, but not overcook.

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Last, but definitely not least, the holy grail.

Heavy. Cream.

 

 

Serve with french bread, or eat it on its own! I absolutely LOVED this recipe, thank you Jonathan!

Jumbo Shells Stuffed With Italian Sausage

I am not much of a red sauce fan, so I tend to steer clear of lasagnas and things of that nature. I ran across a similar recipe to this a while back and decided to try and make it my own.

 

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Pasta Filling

1 12oz box jumbo pasta shells
1 pound spicy Italian Sausage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup Spinach, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano 

 

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In a big enough pot, boil water with a few dashes of salt, add shells and cook per package instructions. When done, place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, you dont want mushy noodles. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO until glassy, add sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. The best trick I ever discovered to helping break up the meat, use a potato masher! After the meat has cooked until somewhat brown, use the potato masher to break up the pieces smaller – it works so well!

Add garlic and cook for about 2min, then add the spinach and chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat, stirring every so often to help wilt the spinach.

 

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Once the spinach is wilted, you can turn the heat off and remove skillet from the stove. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano and stir well so that everything is incorporated. 

Pre-heat your oven to 350°

Prepare yourself to be patient. Filling these little buggers is a little time consuming, and annoying as they dont all open up very easily.
Open each shell gently, they’ll be slippery and annoying, but once you get in a groove it’ll get easier. Using a soup spoon, spoon in the filling and arrange in round pie pan or shallow casserole dish. Putting them in the pan with the “end” of the shell “up” will make so they dont fall over and get everywhere.

Once they’re all in the pan, cover with cheese and bake for 30min!

Deeeelish!!