Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quick-quick-quick sausage soup

Just made a quick soup and it is DELISH!

Here's what I did....and bear in mind that most of the ingredients and amounts are adjustable to your tastes.  I'll go into detail for beginner cooks and give a few shortcuts for busy cooks.

First, turn the heat on under your pan.  Toss in some diced salt pork or bacon, or a spoonful of lard, bacon grease, saved chicken fat, whatever you have.  I used salt pork since I have lots and am craving it, likely for the vitamin D.  Put a kettle of water on to boil with at least 2 cups of water in it, more if you'll be making yourself a cup of tea at the same time.  I always do.

While your pan is heating up and the fat is releasing from the bacon or salt pork, take your sausage out of the freezer and run the package under a bit of warm water to thaw a bit.  This is assuming it is in a waterproof package, as mine was.  I used the spicy sausage I made with the livers and hearts (20%) and fatty pork scraps (80%) during processing week and froze in easy portions in Ziploc freezer bags.  You can use already thawed sausage if you have some in your fridge.

Then dice up a half an onion (or used frozen diced onions) and a few cloves of garlic (or use minced garlic in a jar...preferably some you previously minced and fermented and not the kind I used to buy that is full of preservatives).

If your pan is hot and well greased by now, throw in the sausage and crumble it as it thaws and cooks.  Get that flame up med-high and get that meat well-browned for extra flavor.  When it is almost browned to your liking, toss in the onions and garlic.  Cook until a bit translucent and not so white looking.

Add some of the boiling water from your kettle, being careful not to burn your hand in the resulting steam.  When it settles down a bit, stir and scrape and stir some more, getting all the nice browned bits that were stuck on the bottom of your pan.  Turn the heat down to a simmer.
Add a handful of chopped scallions (green part, or both green and white parts.  I think scallions are a major key to a flavorful broth.  Always have some in your freezer in ziplocs, washed, chopped, and ready to toss into quick soups.) and a half of a red pepper, diced.  Add a tablespoon or so each of sage and parsley and salt to taste.

Add a quart of broth.  Again, having frozen, unflavored broths of various types in my freezer at all times is a major priority.  I don't flavor broth when making it so it will be more versatile.  I flavor it when using it, as in this soup.  I used a quart of pork broth, made in the traditional manner with bones from our pastured pigs.

Simmer this, covered, for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors of the herbs and cook the scallions.  Then add a full bag of frozen chopped spinach or any other greens you'd like, and simmer until done.  Adjust your salt and pepper and serve.

This was made to be compatible with the strict sugar handling diet.  Otherwise, I'd use far less spinach and add other veggies, such as carrots and rutabagas and chard stems (celery would be great, but celery doesn't like me so I use chard stems, sliced, blanched, and frozen from the garden.  I'd have used them today but I ran out last week.)  Soups are so versatile.....but some things I rarely change when making soups:  homemade traditional bone broths as  the base, scallions with or without onions, and garlic.  Then herbs to flavor it....rosemary for chicken soup, sage paired well with the sausage and would go great with any pork, and Italian herbs such as oregano and basil for a more Italian flavor, adding a bay leaf with beef.....these are some basics that I rarely waver from when making a quick soup.

To sum up, here is what I used to make my soup today:

3/4 lb hot sausage
1/2 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
handful of chopped green onions (scallions)
half a red pepper, diced
1 Tbsp rubbed sage
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1.5 tsp sea salt
1 quart pork broth
1 lb frozen chopped spinach

Once I can add cheese back into my diet (Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  I love you, tomorrow, you're only a day away!) this soup would be fantastic with a sharp cheese sprinkled on top when serving....parmesan, Romano, or my choice, a nicely aged feta.

Isn't soup the perfect food for a cold and snowy winter's day?

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