Thursday, January 17, 2008

Soupa Toscana (Tuscan style potato soup)

Back in the day when I was a cube dweller in Glendale our Fun Friday lunch where took a lot of extra time we'd walk down to the Olive Garden and do the all you can eat Soup n Salad. My favorite soup was the "Soupa Toscana". Of course they don't give out the recipe but I figured out most of the ingredients and put together my own version pretty close to what they have.

The recipe....
Soupa Toscana (Tuscan style potato soup)
  • 1 lb pork sausage links – cut into ½” pieces
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 1T chopped garlic
  • 1 large russet potato cubed into ½” square pieces (about 2 cups)
  • EVOO
  • ½ t celery seed
  • 1 T fennel – lightly crush
  • 1 t white pepper
  • 1-2 t sea salt to taste
  • 4 cans chicken broth
  • 1 C instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 bunch escarole (can substitute regular spinach)
  • 3T fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

    Lightly coat stock pot with EVOO. Heat to shimmering add pork sausage and stir often. When starting to brown add onion. Lightly grind celery seed and fennel, add to meat. Add white pepper. When onion translucent and starting to caramelize add garlic and potato. Stir and brown another 5 minutes.

    Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Test for salt and add sea salt to taste. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add 1/2 instant mashed potato slowly, stir in well to prevent lumping. Simmer 2-3 minutes. Add additional instant potato in 1 T increments to get a thick soup consistency.

    Add chopped parsley. Rinse escarole well. Chop to bite size pieces. Add to soup. Simmer 5 minutes until escarole wilted. Stir in to soup.

    Serve with fresh parmesan and cracked black pepper.
I do prefer the escarole when I can get it as it has a bit sweeter taste and nicer texture than the spinach. More of a firm bite than the spinach, but either is quite tasty.

The most important step is adding the instant potato to thicken. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. After the first 1/2 you do need to be careful in adding the potato as the various brands don't absorb water the same and you do run the risk of having a pot of mashed potatoe instead of soup if you over do it or do it too fast. If you do over thicken you can add some additional stock to thin it down.

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