Friday, October 3, 2008

Leek-y-Dill Italian Sausage Soup

My friend Lindsey has wonderful food ideas. She gave me the inspiration for this recipe, which was handed to her from a friend of hers, very informally: "Oh, take some sausage, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, and dill and throw it all together. Easy!"

I've now made this soup a number of times and have gotten rave reviews from all. It's hearty enough for my carnivorous husband and herby enough for my own taste. If I were to rate this soup on a scale of spring-summer-winter-fall, this would be a "winter". The interplay between the caramelized leeks and fresh dill is intriguing and unexpected. Served with a buttered crusty roll, there's nothing better to warm you on a winter's day.

I have no idea what to call this soup. Ideas, anyone?

Leeky Dill Italian Sausage Soup

1 package (about 5 large sausages) of hot italian sausage, de-skinned
2-3 medium leeks, cleaned and diced
2 large russet potatoes
1 large can diced tomatoes
water or vegetable broth
1 bunch of fresh dill (it MUST be fresh, there is no substitute!)
salt and pepper

In a large cast-iron skillet, sauté the sausage meat until browned and cooked through. Drain the fat off, reserving it in a bowl to use for caramelizing the leeks. Move the sausage to a large stock pot. In the skillet again, use about a tablespoon of the sausage fat to caramelize the leeks. They should be just browned on the edges and still a vibrant green. Put that into the stock pot with the sausage. Add the potatoes, roughly chopped, to the stockpot, along with the can of diced tomatoes. Add enough water or vegetable broth to cover all the ingredients, and bring it to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.

10 minutes before serving, remove any stalks from the fresh dill and roughly chop it, so there are no large "bunches" of dill, just small sprigs. Stir that into the soup and let the dill flavor become vibrant.

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