Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

This delicious, flavorful soup makes a terrific lunch on a cool fall day. Serve it with some crusty bread and olive oil for dipping.

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup of each of the following:

  • finely diced onion
  • thinly sliced leeks
  • peeled, finely cut carrot

1 clove chopped garlic (about a teaspoon)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces Italian sausage (I prefer hot sausage)
2 Tbs polenta
5 cups chicken stock
4 packed cups of stemmed, coarsely torn kale

In a soup pot, saute the onion, leeks, carrot, salt and pepper in the olive oil for about 8 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for two more minutes. Next, add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks. When the meat is no longer pink, drain off excess oil from the pot.

Next, combine the cornmeal with the sausage and vegetables, and then add the stock. Bring everything to a boil while stirring continuously. When the soup is at a boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes. As it simmers, check the soup occasionally and give it a stir.

When 30 minutes have passed, add the kale to the pot and simmer an additional 15 minutes.

Serve the soup topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sandwich Loaf with Fresh Herbs

If your herb garden is going crazy like mine is, put some into this bread. For this loaf, I used 50% bread  flour and 50% white-whole wheat. I think this will be perfect for tomato sandwiches.

Sandwich Loaf with Fresh Herbs

2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
1 tsp sugar

6 to 6 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs olive oil
1 3/4 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees)
3 Tbs chopped fresh chives
3 Tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 loaf pans 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2, greased on the sides and bottoms.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the yeast, warm water and sugar. Let ferment for 15 minutes.

Add to the yeast mixture 3 1/2 cups of very warm water, the salt, and olive oil. Combine well. Add the remainder of the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together. Knead for 10 minutes.

Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 40 to 60 minutes, or until double.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Punch down the dough and divide it into two. Shape each piece into a rectangle that is as wide as the baking pan is long. Fold the dough like an envelope, pinch the seam together and tuck the ends under. Place it into the pan. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Brush the loaves with olive oil.

Cover the loaves and let rise until double, about 35 to 50 minutes.

When the dough is risen, bake the loaves for 25 to 30 minutes. The loaves are done when well browned with an internal temperature of about 190 - 200 degrees.

Remove the baked loaves from the pans and cool the bread on a wire rack.