Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Leek, Kielbasa & Sausage Soup

Soup season lasts about 8 months around our house. I've even been known to make soup in the heat of the summer, although not very often. So now that the weather has really turned cooler (we've even had some rain) I was anxious to make some soup this week. My recipe started out with a small package of Italian sausage (bulk grind type) that I found in the freezer, and I just built the recipe from there. I looked on Epicurious and found a leek and sausage soup to start from, then I embellished it with other things from the pantry and the refrigerator. Having made a trip to Costco yesterday, I had a package of pre-cut butternut squash. Some of that went in the soup too as well as a package of fresh chanterelle mushrooms. Once put it front of us, we all just tucked into it with relish. Delicious.

There was only one thing I did differently here, that I've never done before: once I chopped up the Kielbasa, I browned the cubes in a hot frying pan with a little olive oil. The sausage rendered out some of its fat, a good thing, and it got browned edges all over them, so not only did the soup have the smoky flavor of the sausage, but the chunks were crispy. I did not cook the Kielbasa in the soup very long. Whenever I do that, it seems like all the flavor is leeched out of the sausage and it doesn't taste like much. This way, the sausage is still full of flavor. If you like the smoky taste to penetrate all through the soup, add part of the sausage to the soup while it cooks, then add the browned cubes at the last.

Leek, Kielbasa and Sausage Chowder
Recipe: A Carolyn T, Tasting Spoons original
Servings: 10
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 whole leeks -- trimmed and sliced
4 whole shallots -- minced
4 whole carrots -- chopped
4 stalks celery -- chopped
8 cups chicken broth
10 ounces chanterelle mushroom -- chopped, or regular white mushrooms
1 pound Kielbasa -- cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 tablespoon Italian herbs -- or mixture of thyme, rosemary, oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups butternut squash -- cubed (optional)
2 cups potatoes -- peeled, cubed
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1. Prepare all the vegetables. Heat a large, heavy soup pot, add olive oil and butter, then add leeks, celery and shallots. After 5 minutes add the carrots.
2. When the leeks have partially caramelized (browned), add the Italian sausage and continue to cook about 5 minutes. Then add mushrooms and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
3. Meanwhile, cut up the potatoes and squash and set aside. Add them to the soup pot with the herbs.
4. When the potatoes and squash are nearly cooked, heat up a second flat skillet, add a bit of olive oil, then fry the Kielbasa until the edges are starting to brown all over. Drain fat and add to the soup pot.
5. In a jar combine the milk and flour and shake until no lumps appear. Add to the soup pot and continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add the whipping cream, heat briefly, taste for seasonings. Add ground black pepper. Add salt if desired, but it probably isn't necessary.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 548 Calories; 32g Fat (51.7% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 49g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 77mg Cholesterol; 1362mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 7 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 5 Fat.
To view a PDF recipe, click title at top.

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