Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Soup or Not To (Spicy Sausage and Fennel Soup)

I felt like it was very appropriate to write about soup today. It is one of those wonderful things we can look forward to in the wintertime. On a cold winter day, there is nothing quite as satisfying as coming home to a bowl of something that has been simmering on the stove all day. Soup is so versatile. It can be made from all kinds of  vegetables, pretty much anything you have lying around. You can just chop up a bunch of stuff and throw it in there and it will pretty much end up delicious. As I am writing this I am going through different soups in my mind. I think I am going to make a spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup (zuppa toscana) again. So good and satisfying! We also love roasted butternut squash soup around here. Chicken noodle, turkey and dumplings, and spicy wonton soup. French onion soup made it to our Thanksgiving Dinner, year before last. A delicious and flavorful addition to your holiday buffet. Minestrone ("the big soup" or "the one with many ingredients") is delicious with just about anything you want to throw in there. Noodles, zucchini, tomatoes, sausage, chicken, etc. you name it, throw it in there.

There is another soup we really enjoy, and that is a spicy sausage and fennel tomato soup. It is an adaption of one of Rachel Ray's recipe adaptions. You begin by browning some spicy sausage with olive oil. After that, saute some onions, garlic and fennel until soft. You add beef stock, tomato puree and some spices, and viola! A wonderfully flavorful and satisfying soup. It is especially good with a grilled cheese sandwich, made with brown sugar ham and provolone or manchengo cheese on sliced, fresh artisan bread.
I know what we are having for dinner tonight....

Spicy Sausage and Fennel Soup
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage (if you prefer you can use mild)
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 cups beef stock
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Place a large pot on the stove over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and sausage. Brown sausage and remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium and add fennel, onion, and garlic, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the beef stock, cooked sausage and crushed tomatoes. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until the soup has thickened.
Serve with grilled ham and cheese....yummy!

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