I wanted to make a simple soup, so I looked through lots of recipes and found two similar recipes that used chicken sausage as the main ingredient along with chicken broth and some vegetables. In one recipe the chicken sausage was cooked and crumbled and in the other, the sausage was taken out of the casing and made into meatballs. The meatball recipe added spinach and the other added kale and artichoke hearts. I couldn’t find kale at either of my local stores so I decided to use spinach and artichoke hearts. I used Trader Joe’s uncooked Chicken Sicilian Sausage with Fresh Tomatoes and Romano Cheese, which added lots of flavor. It was also a bit spicy, so if you don’t want a lot of heat, use a sweet Italian sausage (usually they have fruit, so you could also use a savory one that isn’t spicy). You can also add one cup of cooked orzo or rice or serve with bread, but we’re watching our carbs, especially for dinner.
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Pound uncooked Italian chicken sausage
1 Large garlic clove, peeled
48 Ounces low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 -12 Ounce bag of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 – 6 Ounce bag of fresh baby spinach
Squeeze the sausage out of the casings and make into about 20 small meatballs.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Lightly brown the meatballs in the pot at medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes. This is easier to do in two batches. Use a little less oil for the first batch and add in some more before starting the next batch. Don’t worry about all the little bits that fall off of the meatballs and stick to the pot. I’ll get back to them soon.
Remove the cooked meatballs with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. I used a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
Add the clove of garlic and cook for about one minute on medium heat until lightly golden. (I was able to skip this step by using garlic olive oil that Alyssa made for another recipe.)
Add a bit of the broth to de-glaze and scrape all of the bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in the rest of the broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the meatballs to the broth and cook for about two minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high to get the soup hot.
Add the artichoke hearts and cook one minute. Add the baby spinach (and cooked rice or orzo, if desired) and serve when spinach is wilted, about one minute.
The sausages as meatballs were quite tasty. The dinner was filling, even without the orzo/rice or bread.
Makes four servings.
I was intrigued by this recipe because I’m always a bit disgusted by sausage casings. When should you remove them? Can you eat them? I don’t understand why most chicken sausages are in pork casings. Doesn’t this defeat the goal of not eating meat, let alone pork, for those who do not eat one or the other? I read about casings a bit and don’t feel any better about the options.
I did make my own chicken sausage once in my pasta maker and it was the best sausage I ever tasted. I used a synthetic casing that came with the pasta maker. I hope to explore more with sausage in the future and maybe make my own sausage again.