Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Sweet Potatoes

This is my version of Olive Garden’s zuppa toscana—slow cooker, paleo style with sweet potatoes. We like this recipe even better than the restaurant version! It also doubles well, and it’s freezer-friendly.

Prep time 15 minutes
Serves 6

2 tablespoons (28 g) Homemade Ghee or bacon drippings
1 pound (455 g) bulk uncooked sweet Italian chicken sausage
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/2 large bunch kale, leaves removed from stems and cut into bite-sized pieces
11/2 quarts (1.4 liters) Simple Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons (15 ml) red wine vinegar
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken sausage to the pan and break it up into small bits as it cooks.
2 When most of the sausage is cooked, add the onion to the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion begins to soften and become translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another minute or so. Transfer the sausage mixture to a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker.
3 Add the sweet potato cubes, kale, chicken stock, vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
4 Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours (or 3 to 4 hours on high).
5 Taste and add more salt or vinegar if necessary before serving.