Thursday, September 22, 2011

GFCF Hearty & Easy Potato Soup

If you know anything about me, I am always super busy. I absolutely enjoy cooking, but I love to find an easy way to do things, especially considering the food allergies we deal with in our family. Allergy-free cooking does not have to be hard, and you will think of me as a caffeinated version of Sandra Lee here in a minute.
Have you ever seen cooking segments on TV that talk about taking a premade or packaged food item and making it better? I’ve even seen a cookbook devoted to making wonderful things with a simple box of cake mix as the main ingredient. So, let’s think of how to translate this concept into a hearty and comforting dinner.
School is in session once again and fall is coming quickly. I’ve been in the mood for soup for the past few days and decided to make something easy at home to quench my desire for soup. I actually took my inspiration from the Zuppa Toscana soup at the Olive Garden. Are you familiar with this lovely soup of sausage, kale and potato? It is very satisfying and has a little kick to it.
So, this is my take on it. I’ve made this soup before using steak as the protein, which I actually think I prefer in flavor. But, here is the version I recently made that is more true to the inspiration. Plus, I have pictures! It’s very tasty and it’s an easy dinner. Let’s get started!

GFCF Hearty Potato Soup

1 pound sausage or other protein, cut into small chunks (I used chicken sausage)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 medium carrots, sliced
6-8 small potatoes (I used about 10 very small purple potatoes), cut into small chunks
1 bunch kale, de-ribbed and cut into small pieces
olive oil (or oil of your preference)
splash of white wine, if you like
salt, pepper to taste
spices to taste (I used chophouse seasoning and a dash of cayenne pepper)

AND, the secret ingredient is… premade soup!
I used:
1 32 oz. carton of Imagine Red Bliss Potato and garlic soup
1 32 oz. carton of Imagine Potato Leek soup

In a large sauté pan, add a little olive oil to the pan and turn heat to medium low. Place the small pieces of kale in the pan, toss lightly with a dash of salt and cover. Check the kale occasionally and when it appears to begin wilting, add in a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan so that the kale will continue wilting and steaming. When it becomes tender (after about 10 minutes), turn off the burner and let it sit in the pan until it’s time to add to the soup.  

In a small stockpot (I used an enameled cast iron pot) add some olive oil and bring the heat up to medium high. Add the diced onion and stir. Cook the onions until softened and then add the sausage, garlic, salt, pepper and spices. Stir occasionally to ensure that the meat does not stick to the pan. When the sausage is cooked, add the potatoes and a splash of wine (or stock or water). Cover and let simmer for several minutes.

Stir the mixture every few minutes to make sure nothing is sticking and to check the level of liquid in the pan. If the liquid is evaporating quickly or the pan is dry, add a little bit more liquid to the pan until the potatoes become almost fork tender. When the potatoes are starting to feel tender, add the carrots and the cartons of soup. Stir and cover. Let the soup come up to temperature and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until the carrots are also tender. When the vegetables are ready, add the kale from the sauté pan and stir.

There you have it! A souped-up version of…(wait for it…) soup!


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