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Cold Weather Recipes

Zuppa Toscana

A friend of mine on FaceBook posted this & I decided to doctor it up just a bit more. Nice & hearty on that cold night. Rich, smooth, meaty.

zuppa Toscana 1 Zuppa Toscana 2 Zuppa Toscana finished

2/3 lb. Italian sausages (use spicy to get that hearty flavor)
8 med sized frozen meatballs
1 cup ham or pork, cubed
4-6 all-purpose potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I like portabella)
4 slices REAL bacon (thick sliced is better)
2 tbsp. minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
5 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup kale or Swiss chard or baby spinach, coarsely chopped
¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup milk
3 tbsp. flour
Butter or margarine
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1. Brown sausage links, bacon & meatballs in a sauté pan. Reserve about 2 tbsp. drippings to the side.
2. Cut links in half lengthwise, then cut slices. Cut meatballs into quarters or eighths.
3. Lightly sauté onion, garlic & red pepper in 2 tbsps. vegetable oil & 2 tbsp. olive oil.
4. Sauté mushrooms (until soft & golden brown) in 2 tbsps. butter or margarine & 2 tbsps. vegetable oil. Add small amounts of water to steam as needed.
5. Place sausage, bacon & meatballs, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes, onion, peppers & mushrooms, in slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables and meat. Add bacon & sausage drippings.
6. Cook on high 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) until potatoes are soft.

30 minutes before serving:
1. Mix flour into milk removing lumps. Stir into soup. Stir in sour cream.
2. Add tomatoes & spinach to the crock pot, stir.
3. Cook on high 30 minutes or until broth thickens slightly.
4. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
Allow to cool slightly then serve. Garnish with cheese.

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