Pheasant & Kale Gnocchi Soup

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This dish is inspired by the Chicken Gnocchi Soup at the Olive Garden. Gnocchi is a type of pasta usually made of potato. It's kind of like a small dumpling, and when you cook them up, they turn into these fluffy pillows of goodness. You can make them homemade, but I don't know how to do that, nor do I have the patience. I found these ready-made at the local Walmart, and I have found them to work just fine. 

The Olive Garden makes their soup with spinach, but we substituted with kale. Kale is more flavorful, I think, and also holds up better than spinach. Made with lots of half and half, this dish is creamy and hearty, made savory by the celery, carrots and onion that is cooked with it. If you don't have pheasant, chicken-- of course-- was made for this dish, and wild turkey would be perfect, too. Spices and herbs include nutmeg, thyme, coriander and fresh parsley. Make this dish. It will become a favorite!

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 4 pheasant breasts
- 1/2 cup of diced celery
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 quart of half and half
- 1 can of chicken broth (14 ounces)
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cups of kale leaves, ribs removed, roughly chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Rinse pheasant under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides then pan sear until cooked through in 1 tablespoon of oil. Set aside.

2. In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic, a pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

3. Whisk in 1/4 cup of flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

4. Lower heat to medium-low and whisk in 1 quart of half and half. Make sure to stir well to get rid of any possible lumps from the flour. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.



  5. Next, stir in one can of chicken broth and simmer until thickened again, about 10 minutes. 


6. Then stir in kale...

And parsley, coriander, thyme, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 
Shred the pheasant breasts and add them to the pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until everything is heated through and the kale is tender. 
7. Meanwhile, follow package directions to cook gnocchi then add it to the pot. 

Before serving, taste and add more salt if needed. 
8. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle freshly cracked pepper on top and serve. This soup reheats pretty well-- slowly simmer and don't let it come to a rolling boil to prevent curdling and separation. 

Serve with garlic bread!