Easy Sausage Potato Soup Recipe along with a visit to Iowa to get your farming, food and environmental questions answered. A recap of the Iowa Corn Quest food blogger tour with answers to many of today’s concerns about our food and environment.
Sponsored by Iowa Corn – All opinions my own
Easy Sausage Potato Soup Recipe and Iowa Corn
This Easy Sausage Potato Soup recipe is a lighter version of traditional potato soup and pure comfort food! I love making Instant Pot Potato Soup and this alternative potato soup recipe with pork sausage was inspired by a recent trip to Iowa.
Last week, I traveled with Iowa Corn and several other food bloggers. We went on a Corn Quest! Iowa Corn is an organization who works to unlock the potential of corn in a sustainable manner to meet the global need for food and energy.
What do you do on an Iowa Corn Quest?
On this Iowa Corn quest, we learned where corn comes from, how it’s grown, what it’s used for along with the environmental and social impacts of farming in the United States.
We stayed in a beautiful hotel in Des Moines then traveled all over the state of Iowa visiting several 100 year old family farms that grow corn, soybeans and cattle.
We also toured a large pig farm, talked with the American Lung Association about how farming affects the environment and learned from a nutrition expert about today’s food concerns.
I was excited to go back to Iowa where I went every year of my childhood to visit my grandparents. Just like this yummy potato soup, I felt comfort just being back there.
With so many environmental issues surrounding the farming industry, it was not only fun to see Iowa again, but so very interesting to talk directly to farmers and experts about such hot button issues.
I left Iowa with so many questions answered and I’m excited to share a delicious pork recipe and what I learned with you today.
9 Quick Take-Aways from the Iowa Corn Quest Tour
1. Only 1% of corn is grown for humans (sweet corn). The rest of the corn grown in the United States is field corn used for animal feed and ethanol.
2. Today’s farmer is becoming fewer, but making higher quality products than ever before.
3. Farmers work with a lot of experts such as nutritionists, agronomists and vets so their products can be the absolute best.
4. Farming stewardship is getting better every year.
5. Our food is very safe. The U.S. regulations are very strict.
6. Organic and conventional food in the United States is very similar. Whatever you choose to buy for your family is okay.
7. Air quality in the U.S. has improved significantly over the last 50 years. There are less air toxins now than ever before!
8. Vehicles are the main cause of air pollution in the United States, not cattle.
9. Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the U.S.
Best Sausage Potato Soup
I chose a recipe using pork to share today because it’s such a big part of Iowa farming. You can find out all kinds of details about Iowa Pork here. This easy sausage potato soup has a few secret ingredients that give it a sweet and tangy taste. It’s one of my favorite soups for a cool fall evening or game day!
What about farming and the environment?
One of my main concerns is about pollution, so I loved hearing from the American Lung Association. We learned so much!
The good news is our air quality is actually getting MUCH BETTER better over time thanks to the Clean Air Act approved in 1970.
Industry used to be the main cause of air toxins, but over time, the laws forced our industries to change their practices. Now the main cause of air toxins is cars. It was eye opening to learn how much pollution comes from cars! According to the EPA, motor vehicles collectively cause 75 percent of carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S.
How can we help make our air cleaner?
We have several choices to help make our air cleaner such as driving less, driving electric cars or using Ethanol blended fuel.
What is Ethanol Blended Fuel?
Ethanol blended fuel is renewable alternative fuel. Ethanol is added to gasoline as mandated by the EPA to lower carbon emissions to make engines more eco-friendly.
About 95 percent of the ethanol produced in the U.S. is made from corn. Today, 97% of gasoline sold in America has ethanol in it. Henry Ford’s first car ran on 100% ethanol!
What You Need to Know About Ethanol Blended Fuel:
All vehicles sold in the United States since 1988 are compatible with E10, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded petrol.
Why Use E10 for your car?
If you use 10% ethanol (E10) you will have 28% less air toxins and improved air quality. Plus, The American Lung Association says it will reduce lung cancer risk by 20-30%. It’s a great way to help improve air quality, for those not wanting or able to drive electric cars.
How Can You Help Reduce Air Toxins Even More?
You can make a choice to find alternatives to conventional gasoline vehicles.
What is a Flex-Fuel Vehicle?
Flex-fuel vehicles are optimized to run on a maximum blend of 15% gasoline with 85% ethanol, called E85. There are more than 17 million flex-fuel vehicles in the United States, but many people don’t realize their car is one. Check your fuel door or owner’s manual to see if you’re driving a flex-fuel car.
Do All Gas Stations Have E85?
There are thousands of E85 stations that offer high-level ethanol blends. There are additional gas stations selling blends above E10.
Use this station locator to find a station that sells E85 near you.
Interested in learning more about what is polluting our air and adding to greenhouse gas in the United States? Visit the EPA here.
What I Learned from our Q&A with a Nutrition Expert
Dr. Ruth MacDonald, Chair and Professor of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University met with us to answer all of our questions about GMOs, hormones and preservatives. She’s passionate about helping people learn how we get our food and where it comes from. She told us the truth about the myths we hear about our food.
One main take-away got from Dr. MacDonald is that we don’t need to be afraid of food, that conventional food is just as safe as organic.
What Should You Know About GMO’s?
GMOs – Genetically Modified Organisms are crops developed through genetic engineering techniques which creates a more precise method of plant breeding.
GMOs enable farmers to be better stewards of the environment. They can grow more crops on less land while using fewer pesticides and less water.
Steve Kuiper, pictured below, uses technology to be a better steward of the environment, because wants to hand down the family farm land to his sons better than it was when he got it from his father.
Dr. MacDonald said the United States has been doing genetic engineering techniques for 25 years already and there is no scientific evidence of health problems or sickness.
Here are two great GMO resources so you can do research of your own:
Questions I wanted to know…
Should You Worry About Growth Hormones in Meat?
The answer is no. Antibiotic steroids are given to cattle to amplify their hormones to produce leaner meat. These dissipate over time, so by the time you get the meat from the market, all traces are gone. People never consume them. There is no evidence it affects humans at all.
Actually farmers are cutting back on antibiotics with animals because it can make them antibiotic resistant. The antibiotics aren’t the problem, it’s the resistance to them that is the problem for farmers and why they use less.
Growth hormones are not used in pork – pigs are bred to be lean as possible. So enjoy my delicious Sausage Potato Soup without any worries!
Should You Wash Raw Meat Before Cooking It?
Washing meat does nothing but remove unwanted residue or dirt. If you wash meat, you’re only spreading bacteria from the raw meat all over your sink.
What is in Plant-Based Meats and Are They Safe?
Plant-based meats have dozens of ingredients. Each ingredient is highly processed and you might not know exactly what’s in it, only the main source such as soy or wheat.
Meat has only one ingredient and you know what it is. Lean cuts of meat are not processed.
Plant-based products are an easy alternative for meat from animals, but you must choose whether you want to eat whole foods or highly processed plant-based and cell-based alternatives.
Conclusion about Iowa Corn
Overall, I left feeling very grateful for hard working farmers who are able to provide food and fuel to people all over the world. We are definitely privileged to live in the United States where we have so many options for food. That we even have a choice to choose conventional or organic is a blessing.
Easy Sausage Potato Soup Recipe
Thanks to Iowa Corn for the fantastic trip! I hope you enjoy this Easy Sausage Potato Soup recipe!
Easy Sausage Potato Soup
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 8-10 Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and cut into small cubes. Peeling is optional. (about 3 lbs)
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 1 lb pork sausage
- 1 cup light cream
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 ¼ tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- chives for garnish optional
- In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
- Add potatoes and onions to stock and simmer, uncovered. Stir occasionally, until potatoes and onions are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
- In a separate pan, brown the sausage. When cooked add to the potato soup.
- Add the cream and butter, stirring until butter is melted.
- Stir in the vanilla and balsamic vinegar before serving.
- Add black pepper to taste and garnish with chives.
I’ll be sharing another new recipe soon that was inspired by my Iowa trip. In the mean-time, check out these delicious beef and pork recipes:
- Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Bacon Cheeseburger Dip
- One Pot Enchilada Mac and Cheese
- Beef Tenderloin Salad