Do you like hearty soups that are easy to make? Me too, and I came across a great recipe via a Facebook cooking group the other day that I just had to try. I will admit that part of the appeal was that the recipe, as written, had only seven ingredients, plus salt and pepper to taste, and very uncomplicated directions, which was just what I wanted. Sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy and still have a great homemade meal.
First, I am going to give you the basic recipe. Note: I used the recipe as a base, or a “cue,” I could say, because when doing my ingredient checklist, I realized that the only sausage meat I had not in casings was fresh chorizo, and I wanted to keep my stash of Italian sausage links intact. (I buy shares from my local farmers and it comes frozen, so I have a stash that will last until late spring.) Plus, it was only 3/4 lb, so I figured I would want to find something to round things out to be equivalent of the missing 1/4 pound asked for by the recipe. So, keep reading below for what I did. Here is the original including it’s notes and suggestions. I am certain it is delicious as written!
Sicilian Sausage Soup
- 1 lb Italian sausage meat
- I medium onion, chopped
- 1 lge green pepper, chopped
- 1 35 oz can Italian peeled tomatoes*
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 quart chicken broth
- s&p to taste
- 3/4 cup orzo
Brown sausage meat. Add onion and pepper and cook until soft. Add the tomatoes, broth and basil, breaking up the tomatoes as you do. Bring to a boil and a stir in the orzo.
Reduce heat and softly boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat as the orzo will continue to cook and expand, making the soup too thick.
- It’s important to use the 35 oz can, not a 28 oz, as it does not give you enough liquid.
If you cannot find the Italian sausage meat, you can buy a pound of links and remove the casing; just be sure to really break up the links!
As noted above, I only had 3/4 lb of sausage and of a different type than called for. I decided adding some beans would be a good idea, but of course, didn’t have any cooked or canned white beans, which is the kind I thought would go nicely. Never fear! Since I was not planning to make the soup for an hour or so, I simply rinsed 1/2 pound dried cannellini beans in a small casserole with 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of regular salt, covered, and popped into the preheated to 350 oven. 1 1/2 hours later, I had cooked beans ready to pop into the soup. (I could have gotten by with cooking just a 1/4 pound, but I wanted some leftover to pop in the freezer for another time.)
Just a note about dried legumes: you do NOT need to soak them before cooking. This is especially true if you know your beans are fresh, as in recently grown and dried. I get my dried legumes from Baer’s Best Beans, grown in South Berwick Maine. Pictured are my three favorites: Cannellini, Black Coco, and Yellow Eye. The latter is the traditional bean for Boston Baked Beans and is the type I use for that classic dish. For more about cooking dried beans, see my post on the Wakefield Farmers Market recipe site.
If I share the video I made of this recipe adventure, you will see that I was a total space case in that I did not read through the ingredients or directions carefully when prepping and discovered, when called for, that I had not realized that I needed a quart of chicken broth. Luckily I had a quart of store-bought handy since I would have had to stop the process to defrost some from my freezer.
Along with adding about a cup of cooked beans, I used not quite a whole orange bell pepper instead of a whole green one, and tossed in about 2 cups of store-bought shredded cabbage and and carrot I had left over from making moo shu pork. (I will share that recipe later – great for a family or a crowd.)
Originally I assumed that I would not need to add the basil, but when doing the final seasoning, I decided it would work with the chorizo flavor and added a bit over the teaspoon of dried basil noted in the original recipe. I also added a number of grinds of black pepper, and two big pinches of salt just to pop the flavor.
Again, I am sure the recipe is great as written, and I can vouch that you can use is as a guideline if you have particular flavors you like or have veggies or/or legumes in your fridge that you want to use up. In any case, it is quick, easy, and tasty, and you can’t beat that! Just make sure you have some chicken stock handy. 😉