Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza baked hot and bubbly and garnished with fennel fronds.

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

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I say start the new year with pizza! Yes, that’s right, crispy, cheesy, flavour-packed Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza. We can not make just any pizza, it truly needs to be a cast-iron pizza to start the new year right. It creates the best golden and crisp underside that you’ll ever create at home, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making all your pizzas this way. Most new year resolutions include some form of healthy eating, but I think the new year (because it’s gonna be great) deserves full-on, carefree, in your face deliciousness. The sausage and fennel combination has not only become my new favourite, cooking it in a cast-iron pan tips it over the edge of my pizza nirvana. So move over plain ol’ pepperoni pizza… grown-up pizza just walked in.

A cast iron skillet full of of ingredients for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.
Pizza dough, marinara sauce and fennel ready for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.

With the new year upon us, we have no choice but to be hopeful for a more user-friendly year. Even though I can consider 2020 a good year, it hasn’t been without its frustrations, and for many people, it has been a year of hardship and heartache. While we can’t eat cheesy, sausage laden pizza all the time, it’s a good reminder to enjoy a few of the simpler things that we can. It’s also great fun to create homemade pizza at home with loved ones lending a helping hand.

All the best in 2021, let’s eat!

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.
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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Course Main Course
Keyword baked, cast iron, cast iron pizza, fennel, garlic, Italian sausage, mozzerella, olive oil, pizza, pizza dough
Cook Time 14 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage about 2 links, casing removed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced plus fronds for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set oven rack to its uppermost position. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Drizzle room temperature pizza dough with 1 tbsp olive oil and press out to a 10" round. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 10" cast-iron skillet. Add Italian sausage and cook over medium, breaking up any large pieces. Once cooked and slightly crisp remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • With the heat still on medium/low, immediately lay pizza dough in the pan, stretching out to the edges using a spatula or spoon if necessary. Top dough with marinara, then mozzarella, fennel, garlic and sausage. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and check the underside which should be starting to brown and crisp. Transfer pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds or fresh basil. Lift out of the pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

-The dough will press out better on a wooden surface such as a cutting board as opposed to granite or super-smooth surfaces.
-I prefer a thinner crust and opt for 8 ounces of dough vs 10.  It is 10 ounces pictured in the blog.
-Makes one 10" pizza, however, a 12" cast-iron skillet would work too, just use the 10 ounces of dough.  There's plenty of topping, so there's no need to adjust unless you'd like more cheese.
-The original recipe from Bon Appétit suggests garnishing with fresh basil, however, I enjoy using fresh fennel fronds instead, but it's a matter of preference and both are delicious. 

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Chilled Corn and Crab Soup

Chilled Corn and Crab Soup

Silky and cool, this gorgeous soup makes a delightful first course for those scorching hot days when nobody wants anything heavy but everybody wants to  eat on the patio. Chilled Corn and Crab Soup has a lovely corn flavour that’s married up with fennel and swirled with sour cream. It not only looks pretty, it’s darn delicious. The crab salad swimming in the middle is also adorned with fennel and fennel fronds for a crisp and refreshing spoonful. Enjoy!

Recipe Source for Chilled Corn and Crab Soup:  Compelled To Cook

 

Chilled Corn and Crab Soup
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 20 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 1+ hour
    Servings Prep Time
    5 cups 20 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 1+ hour
    Chilled Corn and Crab Soup
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 1+ hour
      Servings Prep Time
      5 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 1+ hour
      Ingredients
      Corn Soup
      Crab Salad
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      Corn Soup
      1. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, fennel and garlic. Sauté until starting to soften but not brown, about 10 minutes. While vegetables are cooking prepare corn by peeling off corn husks and removing silk. Stand corn on end and remove kernels by running a large knife along the body, cutting at the base of the kernels. Trim ends off bare cobs and cut cob in half. Add kernels and cobs to pot along with vegetable broth, water, thyme sprigs and 1/2 tsp salt.
      2. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove cobs and thyme sprigs and discard. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 tsp salt and adjust as needed, remembering that cold foods tend to taste saltier than warm. Using a blender, blend soup in batches until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, pressing against the sides to extract all the soup. Cover and chill until cool, stirring occasionally.
      3. Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of crab salad into the centre of shallow serving bowls. Ladle soup around crab salad and drizzle with sour cream, swirling into soup slightly. Serve immediately.
      Crab Salad
      1. Gently stir together all ingredients. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use. Can be made up to several hours ahead.
      Recipe Notes

      Yields a generous 5 cups of soup and will serve 6 as a first course or 4 servings as a main dish. Both the soup and crab salad are best if served slightly chilled but not cold. If both have been completely chilled, allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

      Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad

      Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad

      Picnic and BBQ season is almost upon us. Don’t bring just any ordinary potato salad to the party! Show up with creamy Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad instead. Cool, crisp fennel meets up with plump little shrimp in a creamy dressing that’s freshened up with fennel fronds. Familiar yet deliciously different is why Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad will become your new picnic favourite.

      What’s potato salad to you? For me it’s a combination of summers at the lake and my mother. We only ate potato salad during the warmer summer months and my mother always made a deliciously creamy potato salad. It was on the traditional side, with eggs, celery, radish, mustard, mayo and maybe a little pickle juice. If I had it today, it would taste like a memory from my teenage years and fun at the lake. Who knew a bowl of potato salad could mean so much!

      Skipping forward a couple decades, I still love a traditional potato salad, but here I wanted to keep the same creaminess but sub in cool and crisp fennel and meaty little shrimp for a lovely riff on a childhood favourite. Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad:  Compelled To Cook

       

      Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6-8 people 25 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
        Servings Prep Time
        6-8 people 25 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
        Fennel and Shrimp Potato Salad
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6-8 people 25 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
          Servings Prep Time
          6-8 people 25 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          10-12 minutes 1 1/2 hours
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. In a large pot, cover potatoes with 1" of salted water. Simmer until potatoes are just tender, approximately 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch. Drain well and chill potatoes until completely cold.
          2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, white wine vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
          3. Trim bottom off of fennel bulb and pluck off fronds. Cut bulb in half, removing outer layer if needed to clean it up. Cut each half in half again and thinly slice each quarter including stems until you have approximately 1 1/2 cups. Save a few fronds for garnish and coarsely chop remainder.
          4. Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and combine with potatoes, sliced fennel, fennel fronds and green onions. Add dressing and toss to combine. Chill for at least an hour and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.
          Recipe Notes

          Makes a generous 4 cups of salad.

          Braised Fennel Chicken

          Braised Fennel Chicken

          Let yourself be seduced by your dinner!  Braised Fennel Chicken is an aromatic, warming, and silky dish that is inviting and succulent.  Chicken braised with cream, fennel, wine and stock until just starting to fall of the bone is why this dish begs to be made.  Maybe not your everyday weeknight meal, but certainly perfect for the weekend. Enjoy a glass of wine and let the braise work its magic and fill the house with a subtle savoury aroma.

          While raw fennel is crisp and bright with an anise taste, braised fennel is mild and tender with just a hint of anise.  Simmered with all the good things like wine and cream it’s down right delicious!  Cooking the fennel softens the anise taste and the end result is mild and rich.

          I love this recipe because the chicken meat just falls off the bone and the sauce is luscious and creamy while the fennel adds a little texture.  The reality is….I could eat this every night of the week.  My waistline however will caution me otherwise!

          Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook

          Braised Fennel Chicken is aromatic and warming with a silky cream sauce.
          Braised Fennel Chicken
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            4 people 10 minutes
            Cook Time
            82 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            4 people 10 minutes
            Cook Time
            82 minutes
            Braised Fennel Chicken is aromatic and warming with a silky cream sauce.
            Braised Fennel Chicken
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              4 people 10 minutes
              Cook Time
              82 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              4 people 10 minutes
              Cook Time
              82 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Once hot add chicken pieces and sear on all sides until nicely browned, approximately 12 minutes. Remove chicken and cover with foil. Remove all but 2 tbsp of oil from skillet. Add fennel and garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Deglaze pan by adding wine and scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Allow to reduce for 2 minutes. Stir in mustard, stock and cream and reduce for an additional 2 minutes. Return chicken to the pan, cover and bake for 1 hour.
              2. Remove chicken from pan to a serving dish and cover. Over medium high heat reduce sauce for about 3 minutes until thickened. Spoon sauce with the fennel over chicken. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately.