Saturday, February 4, 2017

Chicken Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

There is something very comforting about having a pot of soup simmering on the stove. Even in Vegas, with our temperatures in the unbearable range during the majority of the year, I can't live without soup. When I'm having a rough day (or week) whipping up a batch of soup is usually just the therapy I need to bring me back to center...especially this weekend when one of my boys and I are fighting some sort of nastiness that seems to be going around. Because I am trying to opt for healthier options, I've substituted regular pork Italian Sausage for a ground Chicken Italian Sausage available at my local grocer and also opted for vegetable broth (sometimes I leave the sausage out all together. Give this a shot, let me know what alterations you made to the recipe, because sometimes one little change can make a great recipe even better!

1 lb ground Chicken Hot Italian Sausage (You can use Mild if that is your preference)

1/2 bulb of Fennel sliced

3 – 4 stalks of celery

2 – 3 zucchini sliced into large pieces

2 – 3 yellow crook neck squash sliced into large pieces

1/2 medium white onion, chopped

3 large cloves of garlic minced

1 bell pepper chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower

2 – 3 handfuls of washed and trimmed spinach leaves

1 – 2 carrots (sliced or shredded)

Red or white wine (I know there are some die hard wine enthusiasts that will say you should use white since we are using a pork product and a chicken base, but I say go with what you feel like or have on hand)

5 – 6 cups of Vegetable broth (or enough to cover the vegetables) 

I Tbsp Italian Seasoning

1 – 2 Bay leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot add the sliced fennel, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and the Italian Sausage. Cook on low, stirring frequently, allowing the vegetables to soften and the sausage to lose most of its pink, adding up to a 1/2 cup of wine to give added moisture and flavor, breaking apart the sausage with each stirring of ingredients. Once the sausage has cooked all the way through, add all the remaining vegetables to the pot, reserving the spinach for last. Add your seasoning (I usually omit the salt as I feel the sausage provides enough salt for my liking). Cover with broth and allow to simmer until the vegetables start to soften. Be careful not to over cook, unless you like mushy vegetables. Add the spinach and simmer until the leaves wilted. It is ready to serve!

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