Tomato fennel sausage stew

A hearty, meaty stew made perfect with a drizzle of black truffle oil.

The Restless Palate
With a base of tomatoes, sausage, and fennel this stew can be easily adapted to fit your tastes, or use what's in your cupboard.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a family that raises Berkshire pork. The kobo beef of pigs! Get in my belly! What a score.

With some convincing I was able to get my hands on enough meat to last me through the year. Moving to a new city means finding all new sources of sustainably raises animals, a community support agriculture (CSA) share, farm fresh eggs, and local dairy. It’s been a process, to say the least, but getting access to Berkshire pork far exceeded my expectations of finding quality local products. It’s like I won the jackpot and it’s living in my freezer.

Being asked for feedback on the sausages prompted me to get into the kitchen and that’s how this stew was born.

I feel a warning is in order. I can guarantee that your stew will end up tasting different from mine no matter how closely you follow the recipe. The flavor of your sausages will undoubtedly be different. Your tomatoes might be a different variety, grown in a different climate or maybe they came from a can. Your fennel bulbs might be larger, your garlic more potent. In the end, none of that will matter because this is one of those foolproof recipes.

I’ve included the variations I’ve made in the past that have been successful, but feel free to play around. This stew can handle it!

My favorite addition to date is a drizzle of black truffle oil. If you want to serve last night’s stew to some special guests, this is the way to go. Garnish with fennel fronds and feta, crumbled goat cheese or Parmesan petals. The color contrast adds visual interest and layers of flavors. I love that this stew is so pliable.

Tomato fennel sausage stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups of roasted tomatoes or 2 756 ml (or 2 28-ounce) cans of whole tomatoes
1 cup of chicken stock
1 can tomato paste (156ml) (or 1 6-ounce can)
2 fennel bulbs, core removed and sliced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons of honey (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon Hungarian or Spanish paprika (sweet or bitter)
6-8 sausages (approximately 2 lbs.)
Chopped fennel fronds to garnish
Drizzle with black truffle oil (optional)
Additional toppings: cheese such as feta, goat cheese or Parmesan.

1. Preheat pven to 350 degrees F. In a cast iron pan or oven proof pan, brown the sausages on all sides. Place the sausages in the oven and cook until no pink remains and their juices run clear. Depending on the thickness of the sausages, this will take 20-25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except the sausages and stir to combine. Simmer for 25 minutes or until fennel becomes tender.

3. Once the sausages are cooked, add all the juices and fat from the cooked sausages into the stew and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more honey if the stew is too acidic (depends on your tastes and the tomatoes).4. Serve stew with slices of sausage and top with your favorite garnishes.

Related post on The Restless Palate: Italian White Bean Sausage and Kale Stew

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