Mushroom and Sausage Soup

This is a substantial soup, perfect for a snowy winter evening. Pair it with a baguette and a salad, and maybe a piece of cheese and some fruit, for a satisfying meal.

Yield: about 12 cups.

2 sweet Italian sausages, taken out of casing
1 Spanish onion, halved and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 to 1½ pounds (half box) button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 small red new potatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon dried fennel seed
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 scallions, julienned

1. Place a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat and when it is hot, add the sausage. Cook for 3 minutes, all the while breaking up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and oregano and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes, fennel, and chicken stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove the solids and place them in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth, gradually adding the mustard and pepper.

5. Serve immediately, garnished with the scallions, or transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)