My good friend Rhonda from back in Wisconsin is a Pampered Chef consultant. Each month I receive recipes and ideas via e-mail. In January, there was one for Escarole and Sausage Stew that caught my eye. Finally, during our last big Nor’Easter I decided to roll up my sleeves and take to the kitchen with Brett as my trusty co-chef.
I don’t know why I had a fear of cooking soups. It’s almost like how some people are so afraid of cooking fish. I guess I thought soups are so complicated that you need to sit around all day to have meats simmer until they’re moist and tender, and you need so many different market-fresh ingredients for the veggies.
But, this recipe isn’t that hard and you don’t have to search for any hard-to-find ingredients.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 medium red onions
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1.25 pounds hot Italian sausage links (5 links), casings removed (we opted to try a new chicken sausage in place of the Italian sausage)
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
- 1 can (28-ounces) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 small head (about 12 ounces) escarole (about 12 cups sliced)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved
Escarole is a type of endive, or leafy green. It has wide, pale green leaves and it’s flavor is less bitter than standard endive. It is especially high in folate (which helps cell regeneration) and vitamins A (good for the eyes) and K (good for blood coagulation), and fiber (that stuff that keeps you regular).
With this recipe, a majority of the time was spent prepping veggies – like dicing up onions and bell peppers – and then browning the sausage. Then, after removing the browned sausage from the pot, we added the prepped veggies and garlic, cooked until fragrant and slightly translucent. Next, we added the sausage back into the pot along with the chicken stock, tomatoes, pasta and rosemary.
It takes about 10 minutes or so to cook the pasta to al dente (or to your liking). Once the pasta is complete, remove the entire pot from the burner and fetch out all the rosemary sprigs. Next, you’ll add the balsamic vinegar and the cleaned and cut escarole to the pot. It seems like a lot at first, but it wilts really quickly. It’s amazing that an entire head of escarole will fit in the pot, but it does. Finally, garnish with parmesan cheese.
How super easy is that for a warm, hearty soup? And, the next day, the soup heated up was great for a lunch that was warm and filling.
Guess I’m no longer afraid of making soups. So, what should I conquer next?