It seems like once I turned 40, I was happy living on soups and salads. My kids are less than thrilled about this. However one soup that we all enjoy year round is Mama's Sausage and Potato Soup with a side of super crusty bread, topped with a slab of the best butter you can find.
The thing I love the most about this soup, aside from how tasty it is (I sometimes lick my bowl, don,t judge), is how customizable it is. This means its usually a happy fit for everyone. Husband can make it spicy, teenager and I can make it lemony, little one can have it with cheese. Im going ot give you the recipe for how I eat it, but please enjoy it how you like, and feel free to send me your own customization's.
Here's what you'll need to get started.
Sweet Italian Sausage, ground
1 large yellow onion
6 large cloves of garlic
2 Quarts Chicken Stock (not broth, and bonus points for homemade)
Olive Oil (California Extra Virgin is my preference)
HOW TO MAKE:
Chop your onion and smash, rough cut your garlic. Set aside. Cube your potatoes and set aside.
Start heating up your large pot, I use a large Le Creuset, on medium heat. When pot has come up to temp, swirl California Extra Virgin Olive Oil until it fully coats the bottom of the pan.
Add your sausage and begin browning it. Make sure to break up your sausage into chunks as it cooks. You want to cook the sausage in the olive oil until it is just starting to brown, then add your onions, garlic and thyme. Saute everything together until the onions are just starting to turn translucent. Don't be afraid of the sticky brown bits on the bottom. That is your flavor and you want that! Once onions start to turn translucent, add your cubed potatoes. Continuing browning everything a few more minutes (usually at this point everything will begin getting sticky on the bottom of the pan and the entire bottom of the pan will begin to turn brown). Once you are at this point, add your stock. Once you have added your stock begin scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan until they are incorporated into the liquid. Bring soup to a simmer and reduce heat so that soup is just lightly simmering. Allow soup to lightly simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Finally, salt to taste (I salt this soup at the end because I find it doesn't need much. The stock and sausage are fairly salty usually so I wait until everything is cooked and salt this dish at the end).
While soup is cooking chop your kale and cut your lemons, or otherwise prepare your additional condiments.
PRO TIP: for a little extra Umami, add a swirl or two of Soy Sauce. I use this in most of my dishes. It gives your food the missing umami flavor you are craving.
HOW TO SERVE:
Once soup is ready I add a healthy handful of fresh, chopped kale to the bottom of my bowl, soup on top and lemon to taste. You can also add cheese at this point if you wish. I add the raw kale to the bottom because the heat of the soup will cook the kale to al dente once in the bowl, which is perfect for me. You can also add it to the top, as I did in the photo, if you prefer a little extra crunch.
This soup is a great base for many flavors. Once the base is cooked you can dress it up many different ways. My husband leaves out the lemons and instead add's chili flakes or chili paste. Sometimes he even adds a middle eastern Za'atar seasoning that he loves. My little one just eats the sausage and broth with cheese. Before kids I loved making it with a 1/2 and 1/2 ratio of sweet Italian sausage and spicy Italian sausage. You can also add a little bit of cream to the soup, or even some white cannellini beans. Have fun, but whatever you do, don't forget the crusty, buttery bread for dipping.
Recipe by Iris McGilloway