This is seriously one of the yummiest soups ever and it’s all thanks to my darling friend Rachel. I really want to claim this as my own but to my detriment I am such a goody-good and too scared of being hammered for plagiarism plus I kinda like my friend, just a little, so I better give her a little credit.
Since my little boy George was born Rachel, another friend and I have been seeing each other each week, having a much needed and very sweet and chocolaty hot chocolate and watching our little ones play (sometimes bite and fight, mine being the main culprit) and grow up together. What feels like such a long time ago, for a short period of time the planets, stars and naps aligned so that we were able to have lunch at each other’s houses once a week, each taking turns. When it was Rachel’s turn she would sometimes make this most amazing soup. It really wasn’t quite fair because when our other friend Vanessa and I would ask for the recipe she would nonchalantly say “oh I just throw in some sausages, veggies, tomatoes and a few other things” – she’s a really good cook so easy for her is not necessarily easy for us laymen. So I would earnestly try to recreate the soup at home but it would never quite taste the same. I think though, after a lot of trial and error I have a pretty good reproduction of the famous “Rachel’s Tomato, Pork and Fennel Soup”. It’s a very flavourful tomatoey broth that is light but at the same time comforting and substantial enough to enjoy by itself as a meal or accompanied with a simple piece of crusty bread with a big slather of butter.
It may seem strange that the main ingredient in the name is fennel but fresh fennel is optional in the soup. Well, I always feel like soup in the winter and I don’t know about where you come from, but here in New Zealand fennel right now is $13 a kilo! It’s delicious, but not worth that price tag so I just leave it out of the soup. It’s got enough delicious flavours and the fennel in the sausages and added fennel seeds give it a beautiful subtle fennel flavour that I love. In saying that, if you do happen to score a fennel bulb for a few pennies then slice it up and add it with the carrot, onion and celery.
Whenever My Kitchen Rules Australia comes on TV I am obsessed. I definitely know any Antipodeans that are reading my blog know what I’m talking about but for everyone else it’s a reality cooking show where amateur teams of two complete against each other in cooking challenges. The show is just as much about the cooking as it is about the personalities and drama. Anyway, I’ve got dibs on Rachel as my partner for the show! I definitely think this soup would be a hit.
Rachel's Tomato, Pork and Fennel Soup
Rachel's Tomato, Pork and Fennel Soup is a delicious and comforting soup that's full of flavour. Perfect for a cold winter's day!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 500 g/1lb pork and fennel sausages
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced (optional, see note)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 courgette, grated
- 1 tin (425g/15oz) chopped tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tin (425g/15oz) butter or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups baby spinach
- grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
- fresh basil leaves, to serve (optional)
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove the casings of the sausages and break into little meatballs approximately 2cm (3/4in) size. Fry, turning regularly, until all sides are browned. The middle doesn't need to be cooked through at this stage. Remove and set aside. You may need to do this in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of your pan.
Add the onion, celery, carrot, fennel (if using), fennel seeds and chilli to the pan with a pinch of salt and crack of black pepper and sauté until vegetables are soft.
Add the courgette, tomatoes and chicken stock and return the pork back to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the soup has slightly thickened. Add the baby spinach and beans and cook for a further 5 min. Divide among serving bowls and top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves, if desired.
Serve with a big chunk of crusty bread (and butter!).
I only add fennel when it is reasonably priced which is often not the case in the middle of winter when you feel like this soup. There is enough fennel flavour from the seeds and sausages that the fresh fennel bulb is purely an optional addition.
If you’re looking for some other delicious SOUPS from My Little Larder then you may like:
- Easy Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- 10 Minute Tortilla Soup
- Roasted Butternut Pumpkin and Sage Soup