If you've been to Olive Garden and had their version of this wonderful soup, I think you'll enjoy our version...they are almost identical!
2 links of Italian Sausage (not "hot", use "mild" or "sweet"), remove casings
2 strips of meaty bacon, optional
1/4 small onion, fine dice, optional
1 large russet potato, scrubbed, not peeled, quartered, then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup fresh chopped kale
6 cups good chicken stock
1 pint heavy cream, or half and half
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt to taste
Heat a large stock pot, If you are choosing to use bacon cook it first. You're going to brown up the bacon, remove, set aside to cool a bit; then chop into tiny pieces - like baco-bits.
In the same pot add the sausage. Crumble and brown -and if you are choosing to add the onion, this is the time to saute it.
Drain as much of the drippings as you can from the pot. If you have quality sausage there shouldn't be too much fat left from it.
Add the stock, potato, kale, pepper flakes, and the chopped bacon to the sausage and onions. Bring the stock to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the potatoes and kale are tender.
Add cream ad bring back up to a simmer to heat. Do not boil! Boiling will curdle the cream. You can still eat it, but it's funky looking. bleh.
I like to serve this soup with fresh garlic bread and a veggie filled green salad.
You may want to salt to taste. I hardly ever use salt in my cooking, so give'er a taste and see if you need it. The soup has so much flavour I doubt you'll miss it, but hey, I won't be there, so don't feel guilty if you want to add it!