Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

On a cold and misty day, my mom and I meandered down a paved path in the bay area. My mom stopped on the side of the path and held a tree's leaves between her fingers. "Laurel trees," she explained, and when I still didn't quite get it she said, "Bay Leaves."

I've never given bay leaves their dues: they are easy to skip, as a whole pot of soup usually only calls for one or two leaves. They are subtle, so skipping them is never the end of the world. But delicate flavors have always ranked high in my mom's book: florals, herbals, and creams. 

In the winter she'd make soups with leeks and kielbasa, and stir in cream or (and) shredded provolone at the last minute before turning off the heat. She never skipped the bay leaves. 

Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup
Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

This soup is an ode to that day, when I discovered how beautiful laurel trees are and remembered why bay leaves are so important. It is nothing fancy: onions, potatoes, sausage, and spinach in a creamy broth. But simplicity is key here, as you can throw it all in the pot (along with two bay leaves), and let it simmer while you change into slippers, pour a glass of wine, or nibble on a cheese plate. 

Winter officially "arrives" this week, which makes it the perfect time to make a simple cozy soup. Bites of spicy sausage and slurps of flavorful broth will warm you to the bone.

Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

Homestyle Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

Published December 19, 2017 by
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Serves: 8   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil 
  • 4 sausages (about 1/2 pound); I used Teton Waters Ranch Hot Links (available at Costco) but you can experiment here. Try kielbasa or spicy Italian to mix it up!
  • 2 cups new potatoes, quartered 
  • 2 large carrots, diced small
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • Dash cayenne 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 4 cups baby spinach 

Directions:

    Instant Pot Instructions:
  1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of your Instant Pot (affiliate link) on the sauté setting. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  2. Slice sausages into bite sized pieces, and add to pot, browning for 3-5 minutes. Then, add potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, broth, pepper, salt and dash of cayenne.
  3. Turn Instant Pot to Soup setting, seal lid, and set timer for 10 minutes.
  4. When the timer goes off, release pressure and open pot. Stir in spinach and cream. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the soup. Add additional salt & pepper to taste, and serve hot.

    Stove Top Instructions:
  1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  2. Slice sausages into bite sized pieces, and add to pot, browning for 3-5 minutes. Then, add potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, broth, pepper, salt and dash of cayenne.
  3. Bring soup to a simmer, and place lid on pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Turn off heat and, stir in spinach and cream. The spinach will wilt from the heat of the soup. Add additional salt & pepper to taste, and serve hot.

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Roasted Asparagus & Raw Radish Salad

Roasted Asparagus & Raw Radish Salad

Early spring always feels like such a tease. Two weeks it was 80°F and the next week we were watching spherical snow fall from the sky and land on the road where it turned instantly into slush. Even though March feels like it should be all spring and flowers and showers, it's usually the snowiest month of the year for us. Whatever accumulates never lasts long this time of year, melting with in a day or two. 

The moment you have yourself convinced  it's finally spring and the warm weather is here to stay, Mother Nature takes the wheel again and drops some white stuff outside your window. It is too warm for soup and too cold for salad all at the same time. Potatoes and winter squash are long gone, but asparagus and spring radish are yet to come. This is the limbo between winter and spring we are in. I desperately crave fresh produce picked from the garden, a dose of vitamin D from the sun, and a late evening where the skies stay light past 6pm.  

Roasted Asparagus & Raw Radish Salad
Roasted Asparagus & Raw Radish Salad

I wrote a poem about this game of limbo when I was still in middle school, and recently surfaced it back up in my piles and files of "old stuff." For a change of pace, I'm sharing the poem with you all today. Isn't it funny to look back at stuff you did "way back when?"

Spring Storm Poem

Snow falls from the blue-grey sky

Wind whirls as snowflakes fly

Dead trees seize the white powder

And what escapes from the raspy limbs

Floats helplessly to the open jaws

Of the cold stone-hard earth.

Clouds hover beyond the sky

Blooms and buds freeze under cold frost

Spring colors are lost.

Roasted Asparagus & Raw Radish Salad

Roasted Asparagus & Raw Radish Salad

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Roasted asparagus and fresh radishes make for a springy pair!

Serves: 2 as a large side, 4 as a small side   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup radishes, sliced

  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • Dash each of Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Chop the thick, white-ish ends off of the asparagus and discard. Chop remaining asparagus into 3rds and toss in avocado oil. Spread in even layer on baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until asparagus begins to crisp. Remove asparagus from oven, and allow to cool.
  3. Toast pine nuts in oven on a separate baking sheet for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned.
  4. Meanwhile, make dressing: place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  5. Assemble salad: Place spinach in large salad bowl, and top with asparagus and sliced radishes. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Use a knife to finely slice the red onion and add to salad. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve.

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Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

The sunset glimmers for a few minutes as I drive home. I stayed late at work, but the days are getting longer, so I get to catch this brilliant pink and indigo show anyways. By the time I make it home, the moon is full and the rest of the sky dark. You can tell this means spring is coming, but here the ground is still frozen and hard. 

I am just starting to think about what we will put into our garden and carrots are one of the first crops that comes to mind. They are one of the first crops we'll be able to plant--leafier greens will need to wait until after our frost date, which is in May. Because that's still a long ways off, I try to reel in my thoughts and expectations. 

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad
Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Still these spring thoughts put me in a springy mood, so when I get to the kitchen the meal that ensues is bright and fresh. Carrots are the cornerstone, roasted in avocado oil so that even though they are off-season, their sweetness is bold. 

The rest is simple: baby spinach (more spring vibes there), the biggest, juiciest dried cranberries I've ever had (they're from Made in Nature), and toasted walnuts. 

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Carrots are roasted with avocado oil and maple syrup, which brings out their natural sweetness.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated on microplane
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large carrots
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Cut carrots into equally sized sticks, about 3 inches long and 1 centimeter thick. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, avocado oil, orange zest, ginger, and salt. Place carrots in bowl and toss to coat. Then, spread carrots out on sheet pan in even layer and place in oven.
  3. Bake carrots for 20 minutes, until they are softened through and starting to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Whisk together ingredients for dressing. Fill salad bowl with spinach, and top with carrots, cranberries, and walnuts. Pour dressing over salad when ready to serve, and toss.

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad
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