Sausage Tortellini Soup (and Lenten Lunch)
“Do you want to go to Lenten Lunch?”
My colleague, Ian Aldrich, was on his way over to the Dublin Community Church, a classic white-steepled building two doors down from Yankee‘s offices. I should’ve remembered: Every year during the season of Lent, the church hosts an all-you-can-eat meal of homemade soup and bread for the community each Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m.. You pay with a donation—whatever you feel you can give—and all the money goes to support local food pantries.
Many churches around the world serve similar lunches this time of year, some with a sermon attached, but this one feels like more of a quiet gathering, a way for people to see their neighbors during the coldest time of the winter.
This week’s crowd was mostly seniors, with a few Yankee employees stopping in. We sat next to Arthur Flick, a retired builder who now spends most of his free time volunteering at the local hospital with his wife, Peggy. She was working in the kitchen while we ate and chatted.
He shared stories about his children—a son who is the chief crime investigator for the Coast Guard in Alaska and a daughter who does genetics research—and told us about his “chocolate chili,” a hearty meat and tomato chili seasoned with a bit of cocoa powder, that he plans to make for next week’s lunch.
Our options that day were sausage tortellini, butternut squash, and chicken noodle. I opted for the sausage, which was delicious and hearty and came with a sprinkling of Parmesan and fresh basil.
Art encouraged us to go up for seconds, but I was full. This was a meal that felt like a gift, and one that multiplies out to the community. I’ll be back next week to try the chili. Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for the tortellini soup, straight from the church’s own 2010 community cookbook, Beautiful Soup.
Sausage Tortellini Soup
Submitted to Dublin Community Church’s Beautiful Soup by Holly Macy.
Makes: 8 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 oz. smoked, cooked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 5 1/4 cups (42 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, with juices
- 1 cup water
- 2 (9 ounce) packages refrigerated cheese or mushroom tortellini
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
- 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook until sausage is browned and onion is tender. Drain off fat.
2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Add tortellini and lima beans. Bring back to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until tortellini and beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve hot, sprinked with basil and cheese.