Something about the cool crisp autumn air makes me want to make a big pot of soup (or chili or stew)! I made a pot of Tuscan Soup for lunch today and it was SO good I thought I should share this recipe. This is really a combination of several recipes that I have found over the years and I just combined the best of them and added a touch or two of my own and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. This is a really fast soup, not one of those that must simmer all day to be tasty. Thirty minutes or less and it's done! Makes 8 servings. (I halved this recipe for the two of us and it worked great.)
1 Lb. Hot Sausage (Breakfast Type)*
1/2 Tsp. Fennel Seed*
2 Large Potatoes, Sliced in 1/2 Inch Slices Then Diced
1 Large Onion Diced
1/2 Cup Real Bacon Bits (Like Hormel Bacon Bits) or Fry Your Own to Make 1/2 Cup
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced (I use Roasted Garlic Cloves from the Deli if I Have Them)
1 Cup Canned Kale Greens, Chopped
1 Quart Chicken Broth Approximately (or Two Cans)
1 Quart Water
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Cook sausage in same pot you will use for soup. Drain off grease, leaving sausuage in pan. Add onions, potatoes, garlic, fennel seed, chicken broth and water. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add bacon bits and kale. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and add cream. Heat through and serve, being careful not to boil as cream will curdle.
*If you prefer, Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage can be used, eliminating the fennel seed. If using Sweet Italian Sausage, add 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes.