Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Fennel Soup with Cheesy Toast

Happy Wine Wednesday!  I made this soup last night for dinner. It contains wine, hooray!  I've made this soup a few times and really enjoy it.  It is a hearty soup with a lot of flavor and very easy to make.  And my kitchen, for once, did not look like a disaster area after I finished making dinner last night.  Point for me! 

And I usually forgo bread with soup, but this cheesy toast is soooo good, you must try it.

1 lb spicy pork sausage
3 potatoes - halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 onion - halved and thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs - cored, halved, and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
1 cup wine
28oz can diced tomatoes
3 lbs low sodium beef stock (1 and a half boxes)

1 baguette or small loaf of "rustic" bread
5 thin slices pepper jack cheese
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Dried Italian seasoning for topping, if desired

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, brown the sausage over medium-high.  Remove the sausage from the pan and drain.  Add the sliced onion, fennel, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of wine.  (I used Our Dog Blue from Chateau Morrisette, a local winery - yum!)

Add the potatoes and return the sausage to the pan. 

Add the tomatoes (including their juices) and the beef stock to the pot and simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Toast for about 5 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees or in a toaster oven.  Top with a slice of the pepper jack cheese and some Parmesan cheese and broil for about 5 minutes.  Make sure to watch the bread in the broiler so it doesn't burn!  Top with some Italian seasonings, and dig in!