It's recipe time, friends! Autumn is soup time.
If you've read Barking From the Front Porch you will know that good home-cooked food is high on my list of priorities. Slightly spicy foods are near the top of the list. This recipe for a hearty Spicy Italian Soup was on the internet. If you want the original recipe, just click on the image of Anthony Bourdain's quote. Over the past two years I have simplified the recipe and adjusted the ingredients to make it one of our favorite soups for a cool autumn day. I made a large pot full just a few days ago and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with you.
Spicy Italian Soup
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 yellow cooking onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 green or red bell pepper, finely diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano or dried mixed Italian herbs
2 bay leaves
1 package hot Italian sausage ( 5 links or about 20 ounces), preferably the sausage will be bulk rather than in links.
2 cups yellow split peas
1 litre of chicken stock plus another 1 1/2 litres of water
salt and pepper to taste
Use a large soup pot or Dutch oven for this. If the sausage is in links, remove the casings, frying the meat in one tablespoon of cooking oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, breaking up the meat and browning it.
While the sausage is browning, dice the green pepper, onion, celery and carrots.
Tilt the soup pot to the side so the oil/fat drains to one side of the pot and remove as much of the oil as possible, discarding it (makes a leaner, healthier soup).
Toss all the diced vegetables into the pot with the browned sausage, stir and saute over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes. Add the oregano or the mixed Italian herbs, stir and saute another 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, water and yellow split peas. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat. Add bay leaves. (Note: The soup becomes quite thick and it is sometimes difficult to find the bay leaves.)
Cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer for 3 to 4 hours on low heat. Check and stir occasionally, adding a little more water if the soup appears too thick.
Remove the bay leaves and use a submersible food processor to blend and liquefy the ingredients into a thick, hearty soup.
Serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh Italian bread. Keep some red pepper flakes, Tabasco or Louisiana Hot sauce on hand for those who like an even spicier soup.
Gerald M. Sliva
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