The Covered Dish - Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

June 02, 2023

Last week I was afraid I would not find my recipe sketch for this week’s column. I am quite happy to note I found it while cleaning the kitchen. There it was in all its’ glory written on the back of an envelope. Unfortunately it has been my habit to pen recipes on the nearest thing there is to write upon, it’s become my ‘M-O’. I’ve even made endeavors at work to break this nasty habit by using a steno pad. Is it working? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.
Last week a couple of my papers didn’t receive the column, for this I do apologize. It is not me this time, it’s the computer. Every so often it will lose things out there in computer space. I go back and see I’ve sent them, but somehow in transition they don’t all arrive.
Let’s talk about the soup. I tried to be very specific as I set the recipe for you, keeping several suggestions and comments, in order to have a great outcome. Evidently this soup dish does have an origination in Italy. After I wrote the recipe I went back on line and reviewed several versions. Some may compare it to one of the soups served at Olive Garden. I don’t see much resemblance, but I can see where the idea might surface. Spinach could fade away and you could use turnip greens, some might even go as far as to implement kale. Certainly not my choice, but it’s a possibility. I would not switch out the potato to something different. The reds with the skins on add their own specific flavor. No one complained over the 2 types of onions being used. The green onions at the end could actually be removed and used as a garnish instead. The choice of cheese, well, I would stick with a creamy white cheese and not detour to a yellow cheese. Gruyere or Havarti could be interesting, even an old-fashioned farmer’s cheese would melt nicely, and enhance without take-over.

The soup ends up being nice and thick and it should yield enough for 6 persons and then some.
I would estimate there was about a full gallon plus.

Next week I will run the new asparagus bacon spread for you. So if you’re going to town and want to try it next weekend be sure and place bacon, green onion, cream cheese and asparagus on the grocery list. The other ingredients most cooks will have already.
I’m preparing for a little road trip to celebrate my birthday and Mother’s Day with family up in Cameron, Missouri. We are having a bonfire as long as the rain stays at bay. I can hardly wait, camping and cookouts are like one of my favorite things ever! Not to mention having family around.
Let’s enjoy the week and keep extra stress and worry at a distance. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup

1 pound regular or spicy pork or Italian sausage

1 medium, onion, chopped small

5-6 medium/large red potatoes, skins left on, small cubes

7 cups salt-free chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon celery flakes

1 teaspoon ground savory*

1/2 teaspoon sage

5-6 green onions, chopped

6-8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese

1 cup heavy cream

Around 15 ounces finely chopped spinach, stems removed

1/2-1 cup chopped cooked bacon

In a large Dutch oven cook sausage and onion together, mincing meat well.

Add potatoes and stock cooking until tender, following with all spices. Add the remaining 5 ingredients: (Be cautious adding cream if the stock pot is too hot, may need to cool a bit first.) green onion, cheese, heavy cream, spinach and bacon. Cook until heated thoroughly and soup is smooth. Use a medium heat for cooking the soup. I liked the green onions at the very end because they were not cooked all the way through. Do not leave the spinach too big, definitely chop it down. When you take a bite, you will not like the look of a big piece of spinach hanging from the spoon. (How do I know, because I got most of mine chopped small, but a few pieces were still too big).

You can purchase ‘savory’ at most spice shops, I have not found it ‘yet’ in regular grocery stores. (Keep in mind I do not live in a big city!)

*Savory Spice: Used as a good substitute for sage. It is a form of a mint, mostly grown in Northern & Southern Europe. It adds peppery notes similar to thyme. Guides tell us to switch savory for thyme ‘equally’. I disagree, if I were substituting I would first use only a 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and then sample.