Recipe for vegetable soup with fennel, white beans and Italian turkey sausage
My grandmother's chicken-vegetable soup featured chunks of chicken, carrots and celery, and the telltale bubbles on top that characterize homemade stock. This updated version looks the same, but I've added a fennel bulb and fennel seed, white beans, and for a bit of kick, chunks of hot Italian turkey sausage in place of the chicken. The combination of fennel and sausage results in delicious sweetness with just the right amount of sinus-clearing sniffles.
Vegetable soup with fennel, white beans and Italian turkey sausage
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, white part only, cored and diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf (or 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves)
1/2 tsp fennel seed
6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium store-bought (I like Swanson 99%)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
3 links (approx. 3/4 lb) hot Italian turkey sausage (or mild, if you prefer), uncooked
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 tsp roughly-chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the butter and oil over low-medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrots and celery, and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions and fennel are translucent but not yet starting to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme and fennel seed, and stir. Then pour in the chicken stock, salt (if using store-bought stock, you probably will not need to add salt) and pepper. Raise heat to high and bring the soup to a boil; then reduce heat to simmer.
While the soup simmers, cook the sausage. Heat a small nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing into the pan; discard the casing. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon while it cooks. When the sausage is broken into small pieces and lightly browned all over, pour it into the soup, along with the beans and parsley.
Simmer the soup for 10 minutes after you add the sausage and beans. Taste, and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot.