When life hands you Corona Virus, make soup

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No, I’m not trying to make light of the situation.

As we are self-quarantining at home, I’ve been going nuts because, as you know, I have an insatiable “need to feed.” And, making and serving food is not only a pleasure, but it’s a huge stress reliever.

With all the doom-and-gloom of the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on all facets of our society, I have found myself WANTING to make food, but not feeling inspired as to what direction. Yesterday, that all came to an end: I had a major food day, making not only ONE fabulous meal, but three…

But, I am getting ahead of myself. First, there was soup.  I feel like I’m playing Food Network’s Chopped at home because, while I have many pantry staples and things, I don’t always have everything I need to make something I want to do.  So, yesterday was a case of “gee, what DO I have and what can I do with it?”

Inspection of the freezer delivered a package of Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage links. And I had potatoes. Luckily I was able to find those at the store because, man, it’s been SLIM pickins’ lately.  So, some Italian herbs, some leftover chicken stock I had from poaching chicken lately (again, freezer item), some half & half (which we have ample as I’ve been buying every time I go to the store), Parmesan and an onion and I had all the makings of a satisfying lunch that would also provide leftovers to pass on to family and neighbors.

Out of such humble ingredients, a soup was born — isn’t that what soup is good at! And, if you’re sick, hot liquids are recommended. If you aren’t sick, well, this soup will nourish your body, and your soul. Captain Wondeful (my husband, if you don’t already know his nickname) pronounced it “One of the best soups I’ve eaten.” And, for a guy who didn’t want lunch, he managed to polish off 2 1/2 bowls worth.

I think that’s a great endorsement. What do you think? Give it a try and tell me how it works out for you!

Print Recipe
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Tuscan Potato & Sausage Soup

A wonderful blend of Italian Sausage, tender potatoes and great Tuscan flavors. So satisfying yet easy!
Course: Soup
Keyword: comfort food, italian food, potato soup, soup, tuscan soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild or hot)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crumbled
  • 6 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup half & half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 scallions, sliced, or 2 Tbsp chives optional

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot, cook sausage and onions over medium-high heat until onions soften and sausage starts to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Stir in potatoes, black pepper, rosemary and thyme.  Cook, stirring, for 3 more minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer, covered, until potatoes are barely tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  • Slowly pour cornstarch and water mix into the soup, stirring continuously, and cook until soup is slightly thickened. 
  • In the final minutes of cooking, stir in half and half and Parmesan. Do NOT allow mixture to boil at this point as the dairy will "break" and lose its creaminess.
  • Remove from heat and allow soup to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top each serving with scallions or chives, if using.

Notes

Note: You can make this dairy-free if you choose. Substitute your favorite non-dairy nut-, oat- or rice-based creamer for the 1/2 and 1/2.  You can eliminate the Parmesan if you like or, if cow-based dairy is your challenge, try using a non-cow based cheese like Pecorino Romano for the Parmesan.

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