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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Flu Fighter Super Soup



You must know by now that I love soup. This is one of my hearty winter favorites, chock full of vitamins, iron, antioxidants, and FLAVOR! You must make this. You'll be sorry if you don't. Your immune system, and your local E.R. will thank you.

Start with the veg. Chop 1 onion, 4 stalks celery, 3 large carrots, 1 large Zucchini, and 5 cloves garlic. Tie up 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 sprigs fresh parsley, and about 6 leaves sage, (bouquet garni). Put it all neatly on a cutting board. It must be neat. I like things in order.
Grab some fresh spinach out of the fridge, about 4-6 cups, packed.

From the freezer: 1 pound Sweet Italian sausage. If you have links, take the casing off. I buy in bulk and freeze in one pound packs.

Out of the pantry: 1 pound small pasta, any kind. I used Penne because it was in the pantry, open, and needed to be used. I also used some Macaroni from a mac n' cheese box.
You'll also need 1 can of beans, any kind, one box of chicken stock, one box of beef broth, or one or the other,  and one 28 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. If you don't have fire roasted, no big deal. Use what you have.



Start by putting about 2 Tbls olive oil in a Dutch oven or a big pot.

Put it over medium/high heat. Add the Italian sausage. Brown it up.

Take it out of the pot. If there is no oil/fat left in the pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, then put the celery and carrots in the pot. The reason I didn't add the onion at this point is because I don't want to crowd the pot. We're after carmelization here. You get that from heat directly on the surface of the veg. Cook over medium/high heat about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pot.

Put the onions in the pot. See that dark stuff stuck to the sides of the pot? That's flavor, baby. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Throw the garlic in the pot. Cook a few minutes more. Remove from the pot.

Now, we want every bit of that flavor (fond) stuck to the sides of the pot.

So, we'll add some white wine, about 3/4 to 1 cup, and whisk like crazy.
Tilt the pot to allow the wine to reach the fond while you whisk.

This is what the pot should look like after you have deglazed the pot. You don't need to go the gym to work your arms. Just whisk!

Now, reduce this to about half. You don't want the soup to taste like wine. Well, maybe you do, but that's not what I'm after here. Add all of the sauteed veg and the sausage back into the pot, along with both boxes of stock, and the can of undrained tomatoes.

Throw in the bouquet garni. If you don't have fresh herbs, don't sweat it. Use dry. Just be sure to chop the rosemary very finely, or it feels like you're eating sticks. Just throw them in the pot.

O.K., here's the secret to this fantastic tasting soup: the rind of a wedge of Parmesan cheese. When only the rind of the wedge is left, put it in the freezer, and add it to this soup.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer until the carrots are tender, not mushy. Bite into one. If it has just a bit of crunch left, it's time to add the rest
of the ingredients.

Start with the spinach. Throw it in.

Stir it up. Bring the soup to a boil, then add the pasta. Return to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli and zucchini to the soup. The pasta takes 10-12 minutes to cook. Just before serving, add the drained and rinsed beans.

Fish out the bouquet garni and Parm rind. Serve with grated Parmesan on top, and crusty, hearty bread.
And imagine your immune system working in over drive because of the delicious fuel you've given it.


Summary:
Brown 1 lb Sweet Italian sausage in 2 Tbls olive oil. Remove from pot.
Saute 3 chopped carrots and 4 stalks chopped celery in same pot until softened. Add olive oil if pot is dry. Remove from pot.
Saute 1 diced onion in same pot. Add 5 cloves chopped garlic after onion has sauteed for 5 minutes. Cook over med/high another 5 minutes. Remove from pot.
Deglaze pot with 1 cup white wine, scraping up all the browned bits on the side and bottom of the pan. Cook down to half volume.
Add sausage and sauteed veg back to pot.
Add (1) 28 oz can diced tomatoes and 1 box each beef and chicken stock.
Add the bouquet garni.
Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer until carrot is almost done.
Add spinach.
Bring to a boil, then add pasta.
Bring to a boil, then add broccoli and zucchini.
Cook about 10 minutes, until pasta is done.
Add drained and rinsed beans.
Fish out bouquet garni and Parm rind.




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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.