Tomato Sausage and Eggplant Soup

1 cup Delizia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Delizia Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 1/2 cups eggplants, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 cubes
1 1/2 tsp Galena Garlic Company Pink Hawaiian Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1/2 cup fennel or 1/2 cup celery chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1/2 tsp pepper
4 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 (29 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can whole canned tomatoes, chopped

Heat the 1/3 cup of olive oil in a 4-5 quart saucepan. Add the eggplant and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Saute over medium, high heat, stirring frequently 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer eggplant to a bowl.
In the same pan, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onions, celery or fennel, garlic, fennel seed, pepper, bay leaves, remaining salt, basil and thyme. Cook over medium, high heat for 5 minutes.
Add sausage and sauce 5-6 minutes breaking meat up into small pieces while cooking. Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes with juice, and the eggplant. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. If soup seems too thick add more stock. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings

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