Spicy Calabrian Chile Tomato Soup is a dish that once you try it you'll forget about the cold weather outside as the flavors warm your entire body. Loaded with sausage, shrimp and veggies simmered in a spicy tomato broth with Calabrian chiles, chicken stock and heavy cream.
Now that we have had our first snowfall of the year in my mind it's officially soup season. There is nothing better on a cold day then a hearty, brothy soup and this Spicy Calabrian Chile Tomato Soup w/ Sausage and Shrimp is the perfect winter pick me up. This soup is loaded with veggies simmered in a spicy tomato broth with just enough cream to give it some body and richness. The chicken stock rounds out the soup giving it a balance so that no one flavor takes over.
Whenever I make a broth I like to start with a foundation of aromatic veggies to give flavor and body to the soup. Carrots, onions, celery and garlic all have a subtle flavor component that comes out when lightly sauteed in oil or butter. Sweating the veggies in oil before adding the liquid makes a huge difference in the final product of the soup. Take those few extra minutes to develop those roasty bits on the bottom of the pan then deglazing with your liquids will make a soup go from good to great. Because I'm a good italian boy we love to deglaze the pan with dry vermouth. The alcohol in the dry vermouth burns off very quickly but it adds a subtle sweetness and complexity to the broth.
Something I like to imagine when preparing the ingredients for a soup is the size of the veggies and proteins and how they will fit on the spoon. If one ingredient is too big it will take up all the space on the spoon and the other ingredients will be left behind like the string Quartet on the Titanic. Cut all your “Main”ingredients to roughly equal size so that each bite has all of the components of the soup. This may sound like I'm overthinking but it's these little details that can truly make a phenomenal soup.
Smaller ingredients like the riced cauliflower or sliced olives can be smaller as they will fill in the empty space in each spoonful of the soup. Think of it like having your main characters and your supporting characters. You want to make sure the leads are up front and the first thing we see but the supporting characters still play an important role balancing out the scene. In this soup the shrimp and the sausage are the stars so I want to make sure I cut them in a way so that both are roughly the same size. Maybe leave a few whole as garnish if you want but overall one shouldnt overpower the other.
I know that after I've told you to take all this time and effort into making this Spicy Calabrian Chile Tomato Soup that it seems like a cop out that I'm using a store bought marinara and chicken stock to make the soup. If you'll indulge me for just a moment, ladies and gentlemen of the court, I'd like to plead my case. If you have some chicken or turkey bones that are left over by all means make your own stock but sometimes when the mood for making soup hits us all we have is the stuff in a box. Store bought chicken stock as a rule is pretty lacking in flavor but we can bring it back to life by adding those aromatic veggies we talked about earlier and cooking them in the pan before adding the stock.
You also need to season the soup with salt and pepper. I know it seems obvious but I can't tell you how many times I've seen people take all this time to make a beautiful soup and then not taste for seasoning. It's like if Picasso took all that time to paint a work of art and then forgot to sign it.
Now my next shortcut is very brand specific. I love the flavor and ingredients of Rao's Marinara. It's clean, low carb and is my absolute favorite store bought sauce. Yes I could make my own or use some cheap brand on sale but with Rao’s I know what I'm getting every time. I use this Rao’s in place of canned tomatoes because it has a lower carb count and maximum flavor per serving.
When you take all that time to make a wonderful soup you need to think about one last thing. How will it hold up? If you plan to serve the soup immediately then its ok to throw all the ingredients in and serve it up hot right away. However if this is a soup that you plan on reheating throughout the week you may want to leave the shrimp and cauliflower rice out. Shrimp are very tender and don't take long before they overcook and get chewy and then mushy. Cauliflower rice will disintegrate if it sits in a soup too long.
What I like to do is to cook the shrimp separately and then chill them and store in the fridge. Frozen cauliflower rice can sit thawed in the fridge as well. When you want to have some reheated soup just toss the cauliflower and shrimp in the pan and only heat up as much as you need. This will keep the integrity of the soup in take so you can enjoy it all week. If this sounds like too much extra work it's not a deal breaker but I wanted to give you an option so you could have the best soup eating experience from the first bowl to the last.
You can garnish the soup however you choose. I personally go a bit crazy with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, grated parmesan, fresh basil and a sprinkle of crushed chili flakes. You can really amp up the flavor by topping the soup with these little accents.
This is the ingredients for the soup that I made but feel free to substitute or omit any ingredients you like. The pot is a blank canvas and the ingredients are the paint. There is no right or wrong so get creative and make a culinary masterpiece.
¼ cup diced carrot
¼ cup diced celery
6 cloves Garlic (chopped)
¼ cup diced onion
2 cups riced cauliflower (frozen)
1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes (sliced)
2 tsp Aged Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
1/4 cup Fresh Basil (thinly sliced)
1 cup Raos Marinara
2 Qts Chicken Stock
½ cup sliced black olives
6 oz sliced Italian sausage (cooked)
¾ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup mini bell peppers
1 cup chopped kale (remove stems)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
¼ cup Parmesan
1 cup Heavy cream
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt & pepper
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