I made it back from vacation in sunny, humid South Carolina (Charleston and Folly Beach). I can’t believe how much we did in only four days. But it was a fun trip! I even picked up some local raw, organic honey. And the cutest honey pot. Win!
So, I come home to the best summer weather in the world – cool and rainy. I’m not much of a summer gal (yes, I just got back from a beach vacation, but that doesn’t mean it’s my preferred weather). And after a week of seafood (my own attempts at bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed shrimp will be forth-coming), I was ready for some fall food – SOUP! I had hamburger and a few Italian sausage links in the freezer, so I set them out to thaw. Then started searching for soup recipes with Italian sausage and hamburger, and kept coming up with minestrone soup recipes, which I don’t love. But after looking at them, realized I could probably make something I DO like by taking out the things I don’t (beans, tomato based broth, and I don’t care for zucchini in soup, no matter how little I cook it, I don’t like the consistency), and amping up the things I do (MEAT!, broth, onions and garlic).
This is the recipe I ended up with, and it was delicious! Be warned, you may not need much salt if any at all. So add salt at the very end, and add it slowly. You’ll notice my soup has some spiral pasta in it. I added that as an afterthought, and honestly wish I’d left it without. If you want to add pasta, I added about a cup. I added it at after all the veggies were cooked, but before the spinach.
Three Meat Italian Soup
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground bulk Italian sausage
- 5-10 slices bacon (depending on thickness), diced (if it’s hard to dice, put in the freezer for fifteen minutes)
- 2 links Italian sausage, removed from casings (for sausage flavor variety, optional – if you want a little spice you could choose hot Italian sausage)
- 1-2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 4 red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3-4 cups broth
- 1 can Italian diced tomatoes, with juice (I poured the juice in then roughly chopped the tomatoes so they’d be a smaller dice)
- 2 c fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds (ground), garlic powder – all to taste
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
Start to brown all meats (sausage, beef and bacon). As it’s cooking, chop and add onion and garlic. Then chop and add potatoes, carrots and celery. When meat is fully cooked, add broth and tomatoes.
At this point, start seasoning to taste. Fennel seeds are used in Italian sausage. They’re optional, but if you add them, they need to be ground.
When everything is perfect and vegetables are cooked, add the spinach and cook just until wilted. If you cook the spinach too long it will get slimy.
Serve immediately. Garnish with Parmesan or Romano cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
First my honey pot. I mean, look how cute!
Technically there are four kinds of meat since I used bulk Italian sausage and Italian sausage links. But both are Italian sausage, so I decided to combine the two. I only used two links, but you could definitely use more. I didn’t use hot only because I’m avoiding peppers and any pepper spices. But my preference would have been to use mild bulk sausage and 2-3 links of hot Italian sausage. My sister said my soup was kind of spicy. But I think that came from fresh-ground pepper (I buy peppercorns and grind them in a spice grinder) and lots of fresh/local-grown garlic. My parents grow garlic, and the stuff makes my eyes water when I crush/dice it.
Here we are where I add the beef broth in. I only wanted to show it to show I used frozen broth. I freeze it in approximately 2 cup portions, so I also laid the broth out to thaw as I started cutting veggies and when I was ready for it, cut the plastic freezer bag off. Simple! Then I stir the meat over it to make it melt faster. Or you can be patient.
Last step: adding the chopped spinach. I got baby spinach and still chopped the leaves into probably quarters or sixths.
And the finished product with some Parmesan cheese. I also chopped up some Italian parsley, but thought it tasted bitter. I suppose I could have added it to the warm soup, but ended up not using it at all beyond that, so I left it out of the recipe.