1 lb ground spicy Italian sausage - (mild can be substituted)
8 slices bacon, diced - (divided)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 Tablespoons flour - (cornstarch can be substituted)
32 ounces chicken stock
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 bunch kale (a couple of handfuls) - de-stemmed and torn into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper, - to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes. - optional
Heat a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot over MED-HIGH heat. Add a small drizzle of oil, then brown sausage, crumbling as it cooks. Drain well, then remove to a plate.
Fry bacon is residual sausage grease until crisp, then remove to the plate with the sausage. Drain all but 1 - 1 ˝ tablespoons of bacon grease. Add onion to pot and cook 5 minutes, adding garlic the last minute. Sprinkle flour over onion and garlic in pot, then stir to combine. Pour in chicken stock, stirring as you pour. Add in potatoes and bring to a boil.
Gently boil about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Add in cooked sausage, most of the bacon, heavy cream and kale. Stir and cook 5-10 minutes until kale is wilted. Taste and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Top with remaining bacon and enjoy!
Heat large skillet over medium high heat and brown sausage. Drain. Fry bacon and set aside to a plate. Add onion and minced garlic and cook slightly. Add sausage, onion and garlic to the bottom of slow cooker. Add peeled potatoes, cover with chicken stock and water (if necessary) to completely cover potatoes and sausage.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 (potatoes should be soft).
Before serving, whisk together heavy cream and cornstarch or flour until well mixed. Pour into slow cooker, add kale and stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes until soup has thickened slightly. Taste, season according to your tastes, top with bacon, and serve.
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:
Set a 6-qt instant pot to the sauté setting. Add a drizzle of olive oil and Italian sausage. Cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess grease.
Add bacon and cook until crispy, remove with slotted spoon to a plate.
Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become soft, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked sausage, chicken broth and potatoes.
Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, and set time for 5 minutes. When finished cooking, do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then a controlled quick release.
When the pin drops, open the lid. Whisk together flour/cornstarch and heavy cream, then add to pot, along with kale. Stir often and let heat through. Taste and season as desired. Top with bacon and serve.