Last Sunday was a lazy afternoon. There were welcomed raindrops falling from the sky as we walked out of church. The forecasters had been predicting rain all week, but the clouds just wouldn’t let go of it.
I don’t know why, but the thought of playing an episode of Julia Child’s French Chef came to me. We laughed as she put together her Bouillabaisse a la Marseillaise - a fish stew originating in Provençal. As she hacked away at a giant fish with a rather large knife, I had my own little soup cooking.
Zuppa Toscana. I’m not sure if this is a real soup, or if it is just exclusive to Olive Garden. Whatever the case, it is delicious. There are a dozen copycat recipes all over the internet, so I found some that sounded good and tweaked them here and there until I got it just right.
We had a crusty loaf of italian bread that I threw in the freezer when I realized it was getting stale. My wife suggested we have it with the soup so out it came and into the oven it went. It was the perfect companion to the soup alongside a plate dusted with salt and pepper, and drizzled with olive oil. If you haven’t dipped crusty bread in olive oil, you are missing one of life’s special moments.
By then the rain had stopped, and Julia Child had finished her stew. We sat down at the table, thanked God for His blessings, and ate our soup and crunched our bread.
Afterwards, I snapped some photos. Our daughter couldn’t resist standing by while I snapped away.
She has a thing for oil…and butter. She was trying to “smell” it. Her words.
- 1 lb mild italian sausage
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups organic or homemade chicken stock
- 6 cups water
- 2 large russet (baking) potatoes, unpeeled, sliced in 1/8″ rounds and then cut in half
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 cups half and half
- 3-4 cups chopped kale
Remove sausage from casing and brown in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot. Add onions and continue to cook until translucent. Stir in minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Pour chicken stock and water into pot, and stir. Add potatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Turn the heat off, and allow the soup to stop bubbling. Stir in half and half, and then the kale. Let sit for a few minutes and then serve.