I have a confession to make:
I, Kimberly A. Morales, a.k.a Poor Girl, cannot stop making soup.
Granted, this isn't the worst thing that a gal can do, especially when she's half-Colombian (Colombians eat soup almost everyday) and when the recent weather has been so frightfully cold. It's only natural to want something warm and soothing to enjoy during 25-degree weather, right? And I have to give myself props for successfully getting over last year's insane cheese addiction (Remember that? What was WRONG with me?) and replacing it with something a little less sinful. Still, I'm starting to feel guilty about posting new soup recipes almost every other post and wanted to let you know that I do still remember what salads, entrees and desserts are! They'll just have to share the spotlight with a few more soups & stews that have been brewin' in my mind and on my stove.
My latest concoction involves a little bit of everything, like any good soup is apt to do. Sopa de retazos, as my mom & aunts would call it; "remnant soup." Though my final recipe title isn't as poetic as some of my others, it's still more euphonious than that! Anyway, I had some turkey sausage I needed to use before freezer burn would set in and since I hardly ever cook with sausage, I thought it would be a nice start for a good, hearty soup. Because it's been so friggin' cold lately, I wanted to make sure I could have something tasty and filling that would warm me up from the inside out so I made sure to add plenty of veggies to the pot, tying everything together with a hot, savory broth.
Like most soups, it's not rocket science or fancy ingredients that make this so wonderful; it's the final combination of flavors that makes all the difference. As you'll read soon enough, the ingredients are nothing spectacular or über expensive (because this is, of course, my blog); in fact, there's a fair amount of canned goods and leftover veggies involved. However, the blend of herbs played up by the slight spiciness of the sausage, combined with the crunchiness of the carrots & celery and the smoothness of the potato and dark red beans all come together like a perfect symphony in a pot. I was actually chatting with a new foodie friend about this last night and ended up waxing poetic (and probably boring him) about soup for a good 5 minutes straight: how it starts from insignificant bits of this and that, how everything simmers together in beautiful harmony, how it eventually becomes this completely different work of art.....
Okay, so it's probably not like that for everyone and you'll have to forgive me for being loopier than usual as they still have me on a Phenergan regimen for this stupid cough. But I can tell you that this soup accomplishes 4 things: it fills you up, warms you up, tastes incredible and costs under $2/serving. Now THAT is poetry. ;)
Poor Girl's Ultimate Cold Weather Soup (makes 6-8 servings; total cost per serving: $1.95)
4 c low sodium chicken broth
4 Italian turkey sausage links
2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
2 c mire poix (diced carrots, celery & onion)
1 1/2 c chopped Roma tomatoes
2 medium Russet potatoes, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t dried rosemary
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t fennel seed
In a large soup pot heat the olive oil and garlic over medium high heat until the garlic becomes fragrant. Remove the sausages from their casings and cook them with the olive oil and garlic, seasoning with the salt, pepper and all the herbs. Cook the sausage until it barely begins to brown, then add the diced potatoes. Continue cooking until the potatoes begin to soften then add the mire poix, cooking for another 2 minutes or so. Add the broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the beans and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly (I find it's nice to add a bit of extra pepper at this point).
Serve generous amounts of soup in large bowls or mugs with plenty of crusty bread (and a glass of red wine, perhaps?) and enjoy!
(NOTE: Don't have sausage? Use cooked chicken instead! Just add it with the beans & tomatoes towards the end so you don't end up with tough chicken.)