#30daysofthanks italian vegetable & sausage soup
Seasons are popping this year. Each one is vibrant, unique and bursting with possibility. I feel like I’m experiencing them all for the very first time. I’m relishing the small, daily changes in temperature, smell, color, clothing and sight of each one. I’ve always lived solely for the brightness, sunshine and eternal warmth of summer, but this year, I want more of them all.
Spring blossomed before my eyes, and I wanted to dance in the blooms. Summer took me by surprise, warming me to my core and through my soul on long, sunshine-fueled hikes and trips to the ocean. And this fall is all homemade hot chocolate and soups, the smell of baking apples – tossed in that irresistible mix of brown sugar and cinnamon. Fall is the new boots that I couldn’t possibly afford but splurged on anyway and the perfect mittens that I haven’t found yet, but that I know are out there, waiting to warm my fingers on those chilly waits at the bus stop.
For once, I’m not simply surviving the chill, waiting it out until the sun warms me again next year. I’m embracing it. I love how it changes my view on my morning walks with Theo. And I love that it’s an excuse for Theo to wear his bright red sweater. I love the imperfect gourds that decorate my mantle, and I love, mostly, the taste of the season – my Italian heritage, warm and bubbling on the stove, keeping me warm while it’s cold outside.
+1 lb ground pork or turkey (beef also works)
+3 links hot italian sausage (if you’re in DC, I get mine from Vace in Cleveland Park – where it’s handmade and oh so delicious!)
+1 medium yellow onion, diced
+3-4 medium-large sized carrots, peeled and chopped
+2-4 cloves garlic, minced/grated (I use a cheese grater)
+4-5 stalks celery, chopped
+1 medium zucchini, sliced
+2 cans (14.5 ounces each) peeled, diced tomatoes of your choice (I use no salt added, Italian herbs)
+1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
+1 small bag frozen corn (a can of whole kernel corn also works!)
+2 large handfuls fresh green beans, washed and halved
+4 cups water (I fill my emptied tomato sauce can & one diced tomato can with water – adds additional tomato juice, as well!)
+1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium beef broth
+heaping pinches (or a heaping teaspoon each of parsley, oregon, basil, thyme (I also add garlic powder & crushed red pepper in the same amount)
Optional — 2 cans kidney beans, 2 cups chopped cabbage
- Prepare your vegetables – add chopped & peeled carrots and chopped celery to one medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, add zucchini, corn & green beans (these will cook faster and need less time in the pot).
- Dice your onion and grate your garlic. Keep these separate.
- Heat a large stockpot over medium-medium high heat. Brown your meat (pork, turkey, beef), and your Italian sausage (remove the casings before cooking).
Brown until 3/4 cooked. Drain excess fat & return the meat to the pot.
- Add garlic and onion and saute until aromatic over medium heat.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and beef broth. Stir thoroughly.
- Toss in your bowl of carrots & celery. Mix in all seasonings.
- Let simmer for at least one hour.
- Mix in the remaining vegetables (corn, green beans & zucchini). Add additional seasonings to suit your taste.
- Continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Serve with grates Parmesan cheese & Italian bread. Delizioso!
I’ll be writing about something for which I’m thankful (most) days in November. Follow me here or on twitter @dccyndi. Join the conversation in the comments or on twitter, using the hashtag #30daysofthanks.