Friday, January 16, 2015

Cheese Tortellini and Kale Soup

I love soup and stew, especially in the cold winter months. They are usually easy to make and not easily messed up. My last few attempts at a bowl of something warm have been lackluster, to say the least. While at my son and daughter-in love's recently, I made stew. It turned out more like stew soup. I made clam chowder one night and it was more like flavored water. I thought there was no more flour in the kitchen, turns out I didn't know where to look! My excuse, on both occasions, is that it's hard to work in another woman's kitchen and I was more concerned with holding my newborn grandson. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

It's been very foggy here lately, the kind of fog that doesn't burn off, we don't see the sun, the damp just permeates a person. Perfect soup weather. After the above-mentioned mishaps I was almost afraid to attempt making soup. Third time is the charm, I guess, as this soup was pretty good.

I found the recipe on Taste of Home.  I modified it by adding carrots and eliminating the water called for. I used bulk Italian sausage instead of links and didn't add the extra olive oil the original recipe calls for. The original recipe is here. I think a can of crushed tomatoes would be a nice addition, next time I will try that.

The soup is full of all sorts of good-for-you-things such as carrots, kale, beans. Don't be afraid to try the fennel, it cooks to a mild flavor.
Once everything is prepped, making the soup is very quick.
To go with this nutritious meal I made corn bread.  I'm pretty sure the calories in the cornbread, butter and honey outweighed the benefits of the soup.  Sigh.  Besides, I needed an excuse to use my little skillets again. Remember them?

Cheese Tortellini and Kale Soup

3/4 pound mild Italian sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped fennel bulb
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cartons (32 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups chopped fresh kale
1 can (15 oz.) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (9 oz.) refrigerated cheese tortellini

In a large saucepan, cook the sausage, onion, fennel, garlic, carrots, thyme and pepper flakes until sausage is no longer pink; drain.  Add broth; bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes.

Stir in kale and beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until kale is tender.  Add tortellini; simmer, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes until tender.

Season with salt and pepper.

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