No Effort Sausage Soup

Truth be told, I made this soup with no intentions of being fancy or impressing anyone. In fact, I made this soup while I was muddling my way through a particularly nasty battle with my old pal, bronchitis. I was in no mood for creative cooking. My husband was working late, my kids were hungry and I was barely functioning enough to stand up straight. I needed something filling, abundant and semi-healthy. So, needless to say, whatever came out of the kitchen that night was final, no pouting or whining allowed. The complaint department was closed. One pot. Many food groups. Full bellies. Period. But, instead of upturned noses or pleas for early release from the table, I was surprised by requests for second helpings. It was good. Damn good. And it was soup. Soup is nice when you’re sick. Soup is nice when it’s cold out. And, soup is really nice when it only takes 25 minutes.

Sausage Soup w/ Farro & Veggies

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1 Lbs Italian sausage, any kind (I used basil and garlic)
1 C farro (aka spelt)
6 C prepared (boxed/canned/frozen/fresh) chicken broth
1/4 C diced pancetta or diced thick cut bacon
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 bulb fennel, cleaned, diced
2 medium red potatoes, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium high. Add pancetta, stirring occasionally. Once browned & crisp, remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Don’t toss it, you’ll be adding it back to the soup. In the same oil, brown the whole sausages on both sides until almost cooked through. Remove to cutting board. Lower heat to medium. Add all vegetables to the pot, stirring occasionally. While the veggies get to know one another, chop the sausages into bite size pieces. If you’re me, you have a big mouth and probably just want to cut them into 1″ thick slices. You can, however, dice them a bit more for smaller mouths. Add sausages and pancetta back to the pot and combine. Add vinegar, red pepper flakes and basil & stir. Pour in chicken stock and bring up to a boil. You should have fond (caked on brown stuff) stuck to the bottom of your pan, gently scrape that up – that’s flavor, baby! Once boiling, add farro, stir well, reduce to medium low and cover. Let simmer about 20 minutes. Check for flavor – add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle up and enjoy that extra time you just saved by NOT slaving over the stove.

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