Zuppa Italiano or Bucket List Soup

I made my bucket list today while sitting through a class on palliative care. I’m not sure what this says about me, but half of the activities I included on the list were things that could be accomplished within an hour or two of leaving class. And so I did. Just in case. Making this soup, for example, was on the list. Every existential to do list should have a couple quick and feasible tasks, to avoid crisis and get you on a roll.

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 Zuppa Italiano or Bucket List Soup

Adapted from Hyvee Seasons Fall 2013

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

6 c. chicken broth

2 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. heavy cream

4 ounces kale, trimmed and chopped (2 packed cups)

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-low heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to bowl with a slotted spoon, drain any grease and wipe out saucepan with paper towel.

Add sausage, onion, garlic and crushed red pepper to saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sausage is brown.

Add chicken broth, potatoes and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Image

Add cream and bacon; heat through. Just before serving, stir in kale.Image

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I acknowledge that I am a horrific photographer of soups–I make them look like slides of petrie dishes. Forgive me the inelegant photographic representation–this soup tasted infinitely better than it looks.

One other unexpected outcome of writing a bucket list was that the exercise forced me to entirely rewrite my Christmas shopping list because of the way the shadow of the spectre of death can clarify what it is you actually want in life, which almost always turns out not to be something that can be purchased at the mall. Some of my Existential To-Do-Before-I-Die items were things I want to do for and with loved ones—so that is my new m.o. for Christmas 2013. A bucket-oriented Yuletide, or perhaps, just Dickensian— “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

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