Every time my family takes a road trip to the Poconos, we're always sure to make a pit stop at our favorite barbecue place. The kids love the popcorn that the waitresses places on the table before their meal arrives (total appetite killer, but after a few hours in a car with two toddlers, a mouth full of popcorn means a few minutes of silence. Don't judge). And my husband and I love splurging on the brisket sandwiches with their tasting menu of sauces and a side of slaw. But the last time we were there, the waitress noted a special that changed my usual order: sausage and spinach soup. The soup was loaded with flavor and hearty enough that I didn't miss my usual order. And it was so delicious that I've recreated the soup at home a few times since.
With only 5 ingredients, this soup is super simple to make, yet it's still loaded with flavor. There's no tedious chopping or hours of simmering, And once the sausage is browned, everything goes into one pot to create a warming, savory soup that's hearty enough to be a complete meal and perfect for chilly fall days.
I use kale here in place of spinach since it tends to hold up better during heating and reheating, and it also gives the soup a redeeming health quality. Don't fret if your kids pick around the kale (my older one does!). One of the benefits of soup is that the nutrients leach into the broth so kids still get the good stuff without slurping spoonfuls of greens.
Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup
Makes 10 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, castings removed (NOTE: you can use spicy sausage too, but my kids found that too spicy for their tastes, or you could try a combination of both)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 russet potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces (think a size that fits well onto a spoon)
8 cups organic low sodium chicken stock
1 bunch of kale, chopped well (remove and discard the stems before chopping the leaves)
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil, sausage, onion and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage, and cook until sausage is browned and cooked through, around 5-7 minutes.
Add in potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, around 20 minutes.
Stir in the kale and cook until wilted. About 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.