Kale, Bean, and Italian Sausage Soup

(Adapted from Delicious Living magazine)

Serves 10-12

2 cups Italian sausage (chicken or turkey versions work well), cut in diagonal slices about 1/2-inch thick

1 cup chopped onion

1 celery stalk, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 small fennel bulb, diced (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups thinly sliced kale leaves, tough center stems removed

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large stockpot, brown sausage over medium heat (if using chicken or turkey sausage, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to prevent it from sticking). Add onion, celery, and garlic. Saute for about five minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, and fennel bulb. Saute for two or three minutes. Add fennel seed, basil, and oregano and saute for one minute more.

Slightly crush tomatoes with their juice and add to the pot, along with chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 35-40 minutes, until vegetables are nearly tender. Stir in kale and beans. Simmer 10-15 minutes more, until kale is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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