Anise Soup with Sausage and Mushrooms

Anise Soup with Sausage and Mushrooms

We had guests come over for dinner on Sunday. As a nice change of pace, instead of spending all day Sunday cooking, I prepped up a bunch of stuff on Saturday so that Sunday could be spent straightening up (and not being frazzled). While I was doing a big cooking push, though – I needed to take care of the regular meals of the day, too – which is when I decided to make this soup. I needed to clear up some space for the things I was pre-cooking, and make room for important stuff – like BEER.

When I went to the Concord Farmer’s Market after receiving my box last week, I picked up some fresh Anise (fennel), I used the bulbs in a pasta dish that (unfortunately) I wasn’t able to get any pictures of – but the greens I had lopped off and saved. I also had some Kale and Mushrooms from the farmer’s market, and a small bunch of Nantes Carrots from my most recent FFTY box. Together, those items were taking up a fair amount of space in the fridge – and when I thought about what I wanted to make with them, they kind of screamed “soup”.

Anise Greens

A lot of people I know tend to toss out the greens from things like Anise, carrots, beets, radishes, etc… which is unfortunate, because there is still plenty of yummy flava and nutrition to be found in these little-used parts. I tend to chop up whatever greens I received with said roots, and add them to sautes, pastas, salads, etc… Basically, just about anything and everything. A lot of times, (when I had space in the freezer for it!) I would hang on to scraps and ends and make Scrap Stock, but since the weather has warmed up, we’ve been eating soup and stews less, so I’ve been muddling by with store bought chicken broth.

Carrots and Onions Anise Greens and Kale

If you don’t happen to have anise greens, you can substitute other greens such as spinach or whatever you have on hand. You’ll lose the delicate flavor of the anise, but it should still be yummy. One thing that I like to do whenever I’m adding rice to a soup, though – is to have the rice seperate, and then add it as I’m serving. It helps prevent the rice from becoming mushy. (I hate mushy rice)

Pot Kale and Anise Soup with Sausage and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Red Kale; leaves torn from stem
  • Greens and stems from 2 Anise (fennel) heads; coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch Nantes Carrots; sliced
  • 1 large onion; diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 6 Sausages, cut in to disks (I used bratwurst, but any kind will do)
  • 8 oz Mushrooms; sliced
  • 3 cups Broth; divided
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 2 cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • 4-5 Green Onions; sliced
  • Kosher Salt

Method:

  • In a large, heavy pot, brown the sausage slices
  • Add the mushrooms and saute until tender
  • Remove mushrooms and sausage from pot and set aside
  • Add the Onions to pot
  • Saute onions until translucent and slightly golden
  • Push onions to the side and add carrots to the clear spot
  • Saute until Carrots are tender
  • Add the anise greens, garlic, white wine and 1 cup of the broth
  • Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat until anise stalks are tender (appx 4-6 minutes)
  • Add the Kale. Cook until beginning to wilt
  • Remove from heat
  • Working in batches, puree the anise-kale-carrot mixture. (Mixture will be fibrous)
  • Strain through a sieve, pressing to remove as much liquid as possible
  • Return liquid to pot, discard solids
  • Add the mushrooms and sausage to the liquids and heat over low until mushrooms and sausage are warmed thoroughly
  • To serve, put some rice in a bowl and ladle hot soup on top of it, top with green onion slices

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