Tomato sausage fennel soup

A hearty tomato soup for a day made soggy by a 'wintry mix.'

The Kitchen Paper
Start with a base of classic tomato soup and add spicy sausage and fennel to boost the flavors.

Should we talk about soup? Yes!

I went out to dinner with friends last weekend and the soup special on the menu was exactly this: tomato soup with sausage and fennel!

Obviously we ordered it (in addition to our burgers, obviously). TASTY! I basically used my classic tomato soup recipe, but with a few notable swaps! If there was a comfort soup made for cold weather ... this might just be it.

Tomato sausage fennel soup
Makes 2 quarts

1/2 lb. spicy italian sausage
1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
1 head of fennel, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 30-ounce cans tomato puree* (or two quarts of tomato juice)
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoone butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

1. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, cook the sausage. Use a spatula to break it into small pieces, and let some pieces darken significantly. Once the meat is cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat, leaving the grease in the pot.

2. Lower the heat to medium, and add the onion and fennel to the pot. Cook, stirring ocassionally, until the fennel has softened (about 10 minutes).

3. Add the bay leaf and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the bay leaf, and blend the soup until smooth. Put through a fine mesh sieve or food mill.

5. Rub flour and butter together into a smooth paste, and thin with a cup of the tomato mixture. Add to boiling soup and stir constantly.

6. Boil for a couple of minutes to cook flour.

7. Once the soup is thickened, add the salt, pepper, and sugar. Serve immediately, topped with fresh parmesan cheese and extra sausage, or store in an airtight container.

Notes: I used canned diced tomatoes and pureed them in the blender before starting.

Related post on The Kitchen Paper: Classic tomato soup

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