Debbie Dance Uhrig
I have been waiting to share this recipe with all my readers for a few weeks now. It’s brand new, but a recipe that you will be familiar with. My parents love to go to a specific Italian restaurant and enjoy unlimited soup and salad. They even like to swing a visit in when they come to visit me! This is my rendition of Zuppa Italian soup. By the way, mom, dad, Darin, you’re going to love this one!
This recipe can easily be made in stages. Personally I like to make it all the way through to the stock, cream and spinach, and then stop. This way I can come home from work, bring everything up to temperature and it tastes ‘fresh’. If our son, Phillip, would ‘show more interest’ in this recipe I would be canning it for the winter months. Of course, this would be without the cream portion! Remember when I say canning I mean a pressure ‘canner’. This recipe would probably be processed at about 10-12 lbs. for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, at a guess.
I served this soup last week to about 35 guests. If you are using it as a main entrée I would of course prepare a large amount of the recipe. Accompany with an Italian Salad and French bread. Or an array of antipasto appetizers! You will note there’s both sausage and a bit of bacon in my version of the dish. Of course, for dietary needs you may need to omit the bacon. I would probably omit bacon just to save on ‘fat’ content. Not that I don’t LOVE bacon! For the greens I have implemented spinach, kale is another option.
Football games, tailgating and deer hunting will also provide many opportunities for sharing this warm soup. Sometimes when our family travels in the winter months I like to take soup in a thermos. This recipe should flow from the canister without plugging the thermos spout. Still need more ideas? Fresh sliced cheese and summer sausage, seasoned crackers, apples with caramel dip, home canned pickles and apple crisp. How’s that for a dinner menu? Oh my, I just had an idea where I would go with this last menu plan. I would go back home to Lewistown, grab my folks, and head up to Nauvoo, as the leaves begin to change. We would find a great picnic spot near the river and enjoy ourselves to the utmost. I used to look forward to that trip each Fall with my family. The menu, however, was more like: fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, cream salad, bread and dessert. Oh yeah, my mom knows how to throw out a fantastic picnic in Nauvoo. Dad would sometimes smoke a cigar while we were relaxing and often my grandparents, Virgil (Tot) & Lucy would go with us. I’m struggling here, I want to go like NOW!
Through cooking we show our love to those that we hold dear. In the l950’s and l960’s our parents and grandparents didn’t always verbalize their love. It was demonstrated through their actions. Things weren’t talked about openly, like we do today. I’m glad that we verbalize more today, I just wish we could convince people to extend their love through the kitchen. Doesn’t matter how simple, if someone prepares it for you the warmth just exudes. Some nights when I come home from work I am so tired, I’ll prepare the meal, and then go and sit down. On those nights my husband, Ervin, will often fix my plate and bring it to me. It’s those little things that mean so much.
It’s time to prepare a meal for my family. Have a terrific week, enjoy the soup!
Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Cremoso Carne Zuppe
4 strips bacon, pre-cooked
1 lb. Italian Sausage or regular pork sausage
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped fine
3-4 mini sweet peppers, chopped fine
4-6 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon savory leaves, (Not all grocery stores carry this spice.)**
3 tablespoons salt-free bouillon*
8 cups warm water
2 cups Yukon golds diced into small chunks, jackets left on-
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups baby spinach, lightly packed, loosely chopped
Pre-cook bacon, drain and set to the side. Place sausage, celery, onion, and peppers in large pan and cook over medium heat until meat is done. At the end add crushed garlic cloves. If you have excessive grease drain meat and vegetables and return to cooking pan. Add salt, pepper and savory leaves. Mix 3 tablespoons of bouillon to 8 cups warm water, stir to dissolve. Add to meat mixture, bring heat back up to medium and add 2 cups potatoes. Cook until potato is tender.
To add the cream temper (to add into gradually) it in slowly. Pull a bit of stock off and add to the cream then add entire amount back to the cooking pan. Lastly mix flour into cold water making a slurry to thicken. Add slurry to zuppe, stirring to blend. Lastly stir in spinach & crumbled bacon, cooking until spinach is wilted.
Yields 8-9 cups zuppe.
*Herb ox, no-sodium chicken stock was implemented.
**Savory Spice is one of my new favorite things. I usually purchase mine at an Amish or Mennonite store. It is not on any of my grocery shelves in Branson West. The spice is great in soups, stews and sauces. A great go-to herb.