September is here, school has started, fall colors are showing up all over, and although our temperatures certainly don’t reflect it yet, I begin to think of Pumpkin Spice coffee, refresh my supply of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and pull out our favorite soup recipes. The first time I had this soup, it was at a local Olive Garden, and in my opinion it remains as one of the best items on their menu. There are many recipes for it to be found online and in various cookbooks, including one that claims to be the Olive Garden copycat recipe. which uses chicken bullion cubes and water. I prefer my version, using herb seasoned chicken broth, and Tuscan Kale from our garden.
1 pound Italian Sausage (we like spicy, but use mild if you prefer)
4-6 Russet Potatoes chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed before mincing
4 cups Chicken Broth
2 cups Tuscan Kale or ruffled kale, leaves stripped from tough center stem, then stacked and rough cut. If you like smaller pieces of the green, stack the leaves, roll them together and shred into thin strips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Crumble sausage and brown in large soup pot or Dutch oven. Cook and stir until browned. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until onion softens. Add chopped potatoes and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Pour in chicken broth and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add kale and cook several minutes. Tuscan Kale has a thicker leaf, but if you use the ruffled kale generally found in supermarkets, cook for only a minute or so. Slowly add cream and cook until heated through. Serve with breadsticks or a loaf of peasant bread such as Ciabatto.
If you would like to make this using your slow cooker, here are the modified directions:
Brown sausage and add chicken broth, garlic, potatoes, red pepper, and onion in slow cooker.
Add chicken broth,covering the vegetables and meat. Cook on high 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) until potatoes are soft.
Before serving, add kale to the pot, stir, cover, and cook on high for 30 minutes. Add cream and continue heating for a few minutes until heated through. Serve and enjoy!