Sausage Soup

with leek, potato, green chard

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Perusing the cooked sausage area at Whole Food, looking for something appealing, I spotted the Fra’Mani Classic Italian Sausage. I respect Paul Bertolli from his years as the chef at Oliveto in Oakland, his book, Cooking by Hand and the many Fra’Mani salumi I have sampled; but I didn’t much like this sausage. I first ate one steamed and fried, with mustard on a bun. It seemed chunky and tough prepared that way. The sausage is ground very coarse, so there are sizable chunks of meat and fat. Taste 10, texture 3, sez I, paraphrasing the song from A Chorus Line. I tried another sausage cubed and hashed with potatoes and celery. Same deal. Cubed in soup… same.

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Then I noticed a recipe on the back of the label – Leek, Potato, Green Chard and Fra’Mani Classic Italian Sausage Soup; a rather verbose, but descriptive title. For this, the sausage is sliced thin. I gave that a try. Excellent. Sliced thin, the chunks of meat are broken down and the chunks of fat melt into the soup. What an amazing transformation. I guess I’ll be back for more.

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Winter soups with leeks, potatoes and greens are not uncommon, and the addition of the tasty cured sausage is welcome. My addition of the goose stock; oh my… it’s like buttah, smooth and velvety.

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Fra’Mani Classic Italian Sausage Soup
from Chef Bertolli (on the back of label)
makes about 2 quarts

2 tablespoons xv olive oil
1 large leek, diced (2c)
1 1/2 pounds whole red potatoes, peeled
1 large bunch green chard, leaves and stems sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 ounces Fra’Mani Classic Italian Sausage sliced into 1/8 inch pieces
7 cups hot chicken broth [I used 4 cups homemade goose stock and 2 cups chicken stock.]
Ground pepper
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom soup pot. Add the leeks and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring often until softened.

Add the chard, potatoes, salt and sausage. Raise the heat and wilt the chard. Once wilted, add the chicken broth. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

Using a potato masher, crush the potatoes so as to slightly thicken the soup.

Serve in hot bowls with freshly ground black pepper and abundant Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

That was so good. I looked at the label more carefully, seeking more.

“Serving suggestions: Serve with boiled Italian cannellini beans seasoned with onions and sage. Slice thinly and use as a pizza topping. Chop finely and simmer with soffritto and tomatoes for ragu. For additional recipes from Chef Bertolli, visit http://www.framani.com.”

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