I've had so much fun cooking at the Carnation Farmers Market that I decided to come back for the 3rd time.
My two previous visits to the Stone Soup Kitchen resulted in Cream of Asparagus Soup and Summer Smoked Salmon Chowder. (Have you tried the recipes yet? If not, what are you waiting for?) What would I make this time around?
You might remember that last time I could not find new potatoes at the market. So when I heard that these little young spuds made their appearance, I decided to definitely use them! So young, so innocent, creamy and tender, these potatoes didn't even need to be peeled. But the soup shall not be build on potatoes alone.
I took my inspiration from a Tuscan Sausage and Kale soup I have once cooked with my friend Melissa. That soup was a perfect bowl of comfort on a cold October night, and even though, some of these summer days might have felt like October to you, I wanted to bring the soup into the summertime. I made a few changes to lighten up this soup.
Instead of using pork sausage, I used Spicy Italian Chicken sausage, but kept the peppered smoked bacon, both from Whole Foods Market. Also, I replaced the traditional kale with bright and colorful Red and Rainbow Swiss Chard. And finally, I added more summer vegetables - rainbow carrots and green zucchini. Let's get cooking!
I have to say, the visits to the market have been so successful and well received, that I am strongly considering starting up my own Soup Kitchen delivery service. Are you interested in placing an order? Who knows, I just might be the next soup lady :)
Summer Tuscan Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices peppered bacon, diced
2 pounds mild or spicy Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 gallon chicken broth
8 small potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 bunch rainbow carrots, scrubbed and diced
3 medium zucchini, diced
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and diced
1 bunch red Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and diced
1 quart milk or half & half
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add bacon and saute for 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook until sausage is no longer pink inside, about 5-8 minutes. Be sure to break sausage into small pieces while it's cooking. Removed bacon and sausage from a pan (reserving the fat) and set aside.
3. In a large soup pot, combine chicken broth, potatoes, and carrots. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Partially cover the soup pot and lower the heat to simmer. Cook until potatoes and carrots are tender.
4. Add the stems of Swiss chard and zucchini and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
5. Add milk and bring to a simmer. Be sure not to boil, or the milk will curdle.
6. Add Swiss chard leaves, cooked bacon and sausage, and onions with fennel. Cook until Swiss chard is slightly wilted and everything is heated through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with green olive bread from Preston Hill Bakery and butter from Golden Glen Creamery.
Thank you SO much to all the farms for providing beautiful vegetables.
Oxbow Farm for the gorgeous rainbow carrots.
Full Circle Farm for fennel, rainbow and red Swiss chard.
Bautista Farm for onions and potatoes.
Thanks to everyone who came for a taste, cup, and bowl of soup and made this Stone Soup Kitchen another success!
What's your favorite summertime soup?