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Zuppa Toscana

(Better Than Olive Garden) Zuppa Toscana

Yield: 8 to 12 servings 1x
Prep: 1 hourCook: 1 hour (plus 4 1/2 hours to cook the homemade stockTotal: 2 hours + time to cook the stock


2 quarts homemade chicken stock *see Notes below

4 slices thick cut bacon (we used cherrywood smoked)

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds Italian sweet sausage removed from casing *see Notes below

1 pound Italian hot sausage removed from casing *see Notes below

2 cups sweet onion, diced

2 tablespoons fresh garlic minced

¼ cup white wine

1 large or two medium heads of Tuscan kale stripped from stems and chopped (4 cups packed once chopped)

1 ½ pounds yellow potatoes, skinned and diced (hold the diced potatoes in a bowl of cold water until you need them)

2 cups heavy cream *see Notes below

Few shakes Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce 

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt, only if needed


Prepare the chicken stock and set aside.

In a medium saute pan, cook bacon until crisp and remove. Crumble and chop bacon into rice-sized pieces. Set aside.

Remove all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and heat to medium low. Add the butter to the bacon fat and once melted, add the flour to form a roux and cook for three minutes. Set this aside for now.

In a 6-quart soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high until shimmering and add the sausage meat, breaking up the meat into small pieces as you cook and brown.

Once browned, add the cooked bacon along with the onions and garlic and cook for three more minutes until the onions are tender.

Add the wine and cook to evaporate, about three minutes.

Add the stock and bring to a boil then add the kale.

Bring the heat back up and simmer five minutes then add the potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 5-10 more minutes.

Add the cooked roux from earlier and with a wooden spoon, stir it in to slightly thicken the soup.

Lower heat to medium and add the cream, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet and the black pepper.

Taste and only add salt if needed.

Once the soup is at serving temperature (be careful not to overheat), ladle into bowls and enjoy.

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The proportions of sweet and hot sausage used in this recipe are really up to you. We did two parts sweet and one part hot. But if you like less heat, add more sweet and less hot. Alternatively, if you like it hot, add more hot than sweet sausage.

Homemade chicken stock is almost a mandatory item here. This soup is intensely good and using canned chicken stock wouldn’t do it justice, however if you have to, you have to.

Heavy cream is one of the few dairy products that you can get really hot without it breaking. That said, don’t bring the soup to a boil after it is added.

If you use regular curly kale instead of Tuscan kale, it will need to cook longer before you add the potatoes. Test and once tender, add the potatoes and continue on. Tuscan Kale is also know as Dinosaur kale, Toscano kale, palm tree kale and Lacinato kale.

© Author: A Family Feast
Cuisine: Italian Method: stovetop