I didn’t start out to create hot Italian sausage soup, but if you sat down to a bowl of the stuff pictured above, and I told you that was the name, you’d most likely agree that the name is appropriate.
It being late summer in central New Jersey, tomatoes are in abundance, and we scored 25 lbs. of ripe tomatoes the size of ping-pong balls for $15.00 – $0.65 per lb. – a pretty good deal for locavore organic tomatoes.
The big problem is the committment that one makes. These guys have a lifespan of maybe 2 weeks? To use all these up before they get tossed means eating a pound of the things every single day for 2 weeks. I mentioned this to the wife as we considered buying the crate and she was game. Then everyone pretty much ignored the crate. I brought bags to work and munched on these things throughout the week. I also took the crate from its out-of-the-way location and placed it on the kitchen table (hint, hint), but someone just put it back. I needed to cook up some sausages I had bought last weekend, and because I needed to do something with the tomatoes they became the main ingredient. So here’s what we ended up with.
8 hot Italian sausages
30 or so of ping-pong ball-sized tomatoes, sliced in half
2 green peppers
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil
8 sun-dried tomatoes, cut in bits with kitchen scissors
In a large shallow pan, I browned the sausages all by themselves and just a little olive oil sprayed with my Misto sprayer to prevent sticking. Once they were browned, though certainly not cooked, I threw in the onions and peppers. I let these cook together to soften a bit, but it was a bit dry, so I threw in the olive oil at this point – which probably did nothing to help. This might have been the time I really decided to put in an enormous amount of tomatoes.
I sliced each in half and threw those in, then threw in the spices and the sun-dried tomatoes, gave a stir, put the top on and let it cook on high. I jack-assed the contents of the pan around to avoid burning until the tomatoes began to release their liquid and a juice made from the pan’s contents began to form and it began to boil.
At this point I decided that it probably wouldn’t burn, so I turned the heat to low, left the top on, and let it simmer for about an hour.
After the hour was up, I used kitchen scissors to cut the sausages in the pan.
The result is a chunky soup with a lovely fragrance and good eats. I was particularly impressed that all of the soup liquid in this was entirely from the vegetables – I added no water or broth.
And the taste of the broth created from the ingredients was awesome.
The one controversial aspect to this was summed up by a coworker who is normally curious about my, ahem, unusual eating habits.
The question was: “did you peel the tomatoes?”
Huh? Why would I do that?
There was a dismissive sniff as he walked away.
What is this ‘peel the tomatoes’ crap? What’s wrong with tomato skins? Is there something I don’t know?
If this ham-fisted cook is perpetrating some culinary faux pas, please let me know?
I promise to up my game if the Queen of England comes for a visit – but you have to let me know.