Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup • Part Deux

I had planned on switching back to salads during the week, but I wanted to play around with what I’d learned from making these different variations of basically the same soup. I took all of the ideas that I really liked and threw in some ideas of my own – like the roast garlic and fennel. Here’s what I did:

1 head of garlic
1 fennel bulb
2 tbsp cold bacon grease
1¼ lb Italian hot sausage
4 tbsp duck fat – divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and finely diced
2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
1 tsp fresh ground fennel seed
2 bay leaves
2 (15 oz) cans Navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 bunches kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
56 oz. good quality chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut top of the head of garlic in half across the circumference. Cut any fronds off the fennel bulb and cut in half. Slather cold bacon grease on the top of both halves of head of garlic and on the cut sides of the fennel. Roast for 45 minutes in an earthenware container such as a small tagine. When done, let cool and remove the cloves of garlic cloves from its skin and dice the fennel.

Heat grill to medium high heat, and grill sausage for 7½ minutes per side. After sausage has cooled, cut into ½ inch pieces.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp on the duck fat over medium heat. Add onion, potato, bay leaves, gochugaru and ground fennel seed. Season generously with kosher salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, beans, roasted garlic and fennel. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a simmer partially covers for 45 minutes. When done, remove bay leaves and use an emersion blender to blend until smooth. Keep warm.

Melt the remaining duck fat in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook kale until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add kale and sausage to soup, mix and serve.

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I stumbled upon a bottle of Six – which regrettably is no longer in production – from Upright Brewing