The official website of Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades, low carb pioneers and authors of Protein Power.

Mushroom, Fennel, and Sausage Soup

The family gathered for a little Father’s Day/Mike’s birthday get together this past weekend. I’d planned a casual light meal for the evening that incorporated several of Mike’s favorites: steak and tomatoes.

The menu included Garden Style Gazpacho (like my usual Gazpacho Andaluz, but without going to the trouble of pressing the base through a strainer and served with the diced fresh vegetables already stirred back into the soup) and Grilled Flank Steak and Warm Mushroom Salad, Fresh Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes, a bit of baguette and brie and a nice local local wine.

I didn’t want to have to do too much work after the family got here, because when our granddaughter hits the door, it typically puts a serious crimp in her Nanny’s otherwise careful attention to slicing and dicing!

So, I marinated the flank steaks in vac-seal bags the night before using a steak rub I keep around, typically salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and sometimes cumin. To make it easier on myself at party time, I tossed them into a 135F sous vide water bath about 11 am on party day and left them there until practically time to eat, about 8 hours, then popped them out of the bags, patted them dry, and flopped them onto a hot, oiled grill just to give them a nice sear on the outside.

The sous vide method is the only way to get a cheaper, tougher cut of meat, such as a flank steak, to come out tender as filet mignon and still perfectly medium rare. And so it was. When I cut the meat and fanned it out onto the greens, I was rewarded with perfectly cooked steak: deep pink, flavorful, and tender.

Everybody enjoyed the Gazpacho and loved the flank steak and we had a lovely evening.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that I had not ever sauteed the mushrooms and fennel to add to the salad. There the bag of chopped mushrooms, sliced fennel bulb, olive oil and herbs was, still marinating in my refrigerator. So I decided to turn them into soup, which turned into an accidental hit.

If necessity, as they say, was the mother, then absent-mindedness, apparently, was the father. But whatever the genesis, it’s good eats!

Mushroom, Fennel, and Sausage Soup*
Serves 4

1 pound Cremini mushrooms (baby bellas), cleaned and quartered
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (divided use)
1/2 pound Italian Sausage, sweet or hot, sliced
1/4 white onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 can (14-ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste
1/4 cup sherry
1 quart chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)

1. In a zip bag, marinate the mushrooms and fennel with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, Herbes, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight.
2. In a soup pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook for 3 or 4 minutes to give it some color.
3. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook until they are translucent, about 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Deglaze the pan with the sherry.
5. Add the mushrooms and fennel and cook until soft, another 5 minutes or so.
6. Add the tomatoes, garlic and onion powders, remaining salt and pepper, tomato paste, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce heat and simmer for another 20 minutes or so.
8. Serve hot.

*For a vegetarian option to this delicious soup, simply substitute one (14-ounce) can of soy beans, rinsed and drained, for the sausage and substitute mushroom or vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Enjoy!

11 Comments

  1. Tommy Williams on June 25, 2009 at 12:27 am

    I’m curious about the sous vide. Do you have one of the expensive machines with the accurate thermostat and controlled heating coils and so forth, or have you figured out some other way to accurately maintain temperatures that low for such a long time?

    If you have, I would love to hear about it.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We purchased a PID temperature control unit online from Auber Instruments. It controls the temperature in a water bath in a rice cooker basin via a long wire sensor placed in the bath. It’s not very practical, quite difficult to set properly initially, very persnickety about how it touches the bottom of the basin, and a bit fragile. We’ve had to replace the sensor wire now twice because it broke and ceased to ‘sense’ properly. I don’t love it, but we’re fiddling around trying to come up with something better so that we don’t have this hassle, nor have to spend $1500 on a commercial unit.

  2. Lucy on June 25, 2009 at 10:09 am

    How do you do the sous vide bath? How do you maintain 135 deg for so long?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We purchased a PID temperature control unit online from Auber Instruments. It controls the temperature in a water bath in a rice cooker basin via a long wire sensor placed in the bath. It’s not very practical, quite difficult to set properly initially, very persnickety about how it touches the bottom of the basin, and a bit fragile. We’ve had to replace the sensor wire now twice because it broke and ceased to ‘sense’ properly. I don’t love it, but we’re fiddling around trying to come up with something better so that we don’t have this hassle, nor have to spend $1500 on a commercial unit.

  3. Gaelen on June 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Mary Dan, this sounds wonderful.
    And the new fennel will be in soon around here…
    mmmm

  4. Jeanie Campbell on June 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Sounds absolutely divine! Would you mind sharing your marinade for the flank steak? As for the soup, I can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks,
    Jeanie

    COMMENT from MD EADES: The mixture varies depending on my mood, but a typical one I would have around would be: 1 part garlic powder, 1 part onion powder, 2 parts salt, 1 part black pepper, 3 parts paprika, 1 part chili powder, 2 parts cumin, 1/4 part (or to taste) cayenne pepper. If you use this as 1 part = 1 teaspoon it will make just shy of 4 tablespoons of the mixture. That’s enough for at least 2 flank steaks. You can make it in bigger batches, if you want, and keep the remainder in an air-tight container.

  5. Susan on June 29, 2009 at 9:11 am

    The soup looks interesting; thank you for posting it. I’ll definitely try your method for flank steak. I cook cheap, but flavourful roasts such as cross-rib or blade by browning the meat in a cast-iron frying pan and popping it into a 200° oven until it registers (whatever it’s supposed to register for rare). It’s pink from the first slice right through to the middle. (I got the idea from Cooks Illustrated, which I used to buy until they got too tedious, and it works for prime rib as well.) I love flank steak, but I hadn’t been able to figure out a way to do an equivalent to slow roasting. This may be it.

  6. Caleb on June 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

    What do you use to sous vide and would you recommend the contraption? I’m a big fan of braised meat and rare meat but I always assumed that the two were mutually exclusive. I’ve also assumed that one would have to turn their kitchen into a laboratory to sous vide effectively — is this your experience?

    Thanks in advance

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We purchased a PID temperature control unit online from Auber Instruments. It controls the temperature in a water bath in a rice cooker basin via a long wire sensor placed in the bath. It’s not very practical, quite difficult to set properly initially, very persnickety about how it touches the bottom of the basin, and a bit fragile. We’ve had to replace the sensor wire now twice because it broke and ceased to ‘sense’ properly. I don’t love it, but we’re fiddling around trying to come up with something better so that we don’t have this hassle, nor have to spend $1500 on a commercial unit.

  7. Karen J on June 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Dr. Eades, I’m curious to know if you have the special temperature control device for sous vide cooking, and if so, do you like it?
    There are quite a few DIY plans out there on the internet using crock pots and the like to make a cheaper apparatus, but they require much more attention from the cook.

    The soup looks great, thanks for posting the recipe.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We purchased a PID temperature control unit online from Auber Instruments. It controls the temperature in a water bath in a rice cooker basin via a long wire sensor placed in the bath. It’s not very practical, quite difficult to set properly initially, very persnickety about how it touches the bottom of the basin, and a bit fragile. We’ve had to replace the sensor wire now twice because it broke and ceased to ‘sense’ properly. I don’t love it, but we’re fiddling around trying to come up with something better so that we don’t have this hassle, nor have to spend $1500 on a commercial unit.

  8. Sally on July 17, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Dear Mary Dan, you’ve hit upon my exact problem with flank steak! Could you give directions on the 135 degree sous vide water bath? Is this in the oven covered in water? My lowest oven setting is 170 degrees. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We purchased a PID temperature control unit online from Auber Instruments. It controls the temperature in a water bath in a rice cooker basin via a long wire sensor placed in the bath. It’s not very practical, quite difficult to set properly initially, very persnickety about how it touches the bottom of the basin, and a bit fragile. We’ve had to replace the sensor wire now twice because it broke and ceased to ‘sense’ properly. I don’t love it, but we’re fiddling around trying to come up with something better so that we don’t have this hassle, nor have to spend $1500 on a commercial unit.

  9. Jeanne Shepard on July 26, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    On Dr. Mike’s site, someone posted a comment praising your mayonaise.
    Can you share it here?
    I have a terrible time finding commercial mayo that doen’st have sugar or honey in it.
    I’m not a cook, but I’m desperate, as I love tuna and mayo.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: How ’bout I put it into a blog, so that it will be easier for all to find.

  10. Carrie Oliver on August 5, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Wow, not many people I know have cooked their steak sous vide. I had it done for me once at a restaurant in Seattle for an artisan steak tasting and it was fabulous. Do you actually have one of the immersion devices or just a great stove that can keep a steady temperature for such a long period of time. Also, how do you tell when a steak is done? I would seriously love to learn more about this. Thanks.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We purchased a PID temperature control unit online from Auber Instruments. It controls a water bath in a rice cooker basin via a long wire sensor placed in the bath. It’s not very practical, quite difficult to set properly initially, very persnickety about how it touches the bottom of the basin, and a bit fragile. We’ve had to replace the sensor wire now twice because it broke and ceased to ‘sense’ properly. I don’t love it, but we’re working on something better.

  11. […] they are as tender as a mother’s heart while still retaining all their taste.  MD blogged about flank steak cooked sous vide a while back.  You can cook flank steak, which is really tasty but tough, using […]

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