A friend pointed out that I have been quite remiss in not sharing the recipe for Italian Sausage Soup.
While trying to format this recipe, I was lost in a welter of memories surrounding this particular soup. I won’t torture you with all of them, but suffice to say that this has been the most requested recipe from people who have moved far away. I think they make this soup to reconnect in some comforting way.
This recipe is filling and hearty, like all of the soups I have shared. But for many of the treasured people in my life, this soup was a reliable source of support, care, and love back in the day.
This was the Wednesday Special at the Café, and we could set our clocks by the characters who walked through the door every Wednesday. I also had a lot of take-out orders, many folks willing to eat it twice in one day.
I know I played favorites with some of my Wednesday customers. There were a few in particular who always received bowls with an extra helping of Italian sausage. Some people you just can’t help but spoil rotten. I happen to be a sucker for those guys that twinkle and grin when you feed them well. One in particular always ordered a cup of soup with half a sandwich, but he always got a soup refill delivered surreptitiously before anyone could figure out he got two servings. We were sneaky that way.
I suppose all of this is to say that this weekend I have especially missed my Café customers. When I look around my house, I find so many treasures that instantly become a portal to the past. I am reminded of many special people, and I am filled with gratitude.
For a lot of reasons, this is the week I have come to accept that the passage of time will never really ease the grief of losing the Café. The whole experience was just too big and too full of extraordinary people to ever allow me to fully hug it close and then let it all go. I think it is wrong to expect closure when you stop and realize that the Café was situated at the center of an ever-expanding galaxy of rarefied potentials.
I’m OK with that.
- Onion- 1 large chopped
- Carrots-6, peeled and sliced to fit on a soup spoon
- Celery-1 entire head, chopped, leaves included
- Tomatoes-1(15 oz) can chopped
- Garbanzo Beans- 1 (15 oz) can, drained and rinsed
- Balsamic Vinegar-1/4 cup
- Soy Sauce- ¼ cup
- Garlic- granulated 1 Tbsp
- Basil-dried, 2 tsp
- Thyme- dried, 2 tsp
- Oregano- dried, 2 tsp
- Rosemary- dried, 2 tsp
- Fennel Seed-1 Tbsp (chop with knife)
- Bay Leaf (1 large)
- Red Pepper Flake-2 tsp.
- Salt -2 tsp
- Black Pepper-2 tsp.
- Chicken stock- 1quart
- Water- 1 quart
- Italian Sausage- 1 pound, casing removed
- Green Cabbage-1/2 large head chopped
- Heat soup pot over high heat and add olive oil. Add chopped onions and turn heat down to medium. Stir onions occasionally allowing them to soften and brown about 8 minutes.
- Add Carrots and Celery and stir to combine. Raise heat to high.
- Add Balsamic and Soy sauce and stir to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the Bay Leaf, Garlic, Thyme, Basil, Fennel Seed,Oregano, Rosemary, Red Pepper Flakes,Salt and Pepper and stir.
- Add the canned tomatoes including the juice. Add the Garbanzo Beans. Add Chicken Stock and Water and stir, bring to a boil and cover with a lid.
- Turn the heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for about 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, stir and return the heat to high.
- Heat a sauté pan on high and add 1 tsp Olive Oil. Add Italiain Sausage by pinching off portions into bite size pieces.
- Stir occasionally and cook until just cooked through, and then add to the soup pot.
- Add the chopped cabbage and stir.
- Cook the soup for about 10 more minutes and then taste for salt.
- At this point the soup may need more Balsamic and Soy, go slowly adding 1 Tbsp at a time and allow the flavors to meld before tasting again.
- It is not unusual for me to season with more garlic and salt and then balance with Balsamic two or more times before the soup is served.