1 lb. hot Italian sausage links
2 tbsp. olive oil
¾ lb. baby potatoes, quartered
1 red onion, chopped
1 small bulb fennel—quartered, cored, and chopped
1 leek, halved and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
2 stalks celery with leafy tops, sliced or chopped
4 large cloves garlic, crushed and chopped or thinly sliced
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 ½ tsp. chile paste or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1 large fresh bay leaf
1 qt. chicken stock
1 can (about 15 oz.) chickpeas, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
1 container (5 oz.) baby kale
½ lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp.)
Ciabatta bread—split and charred or broiled, then rubbed with garlic, drizzled with EVOO, and seasoned with flaky sea salt (optional)
Remove the sausage from the casings.
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil, two turns of the pot, over medium-high. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the potatoes, onion, fennel, leek, celery, garlic, thyme, chile paste, and bay leaf to the pot; season with salt. Partially cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the stock, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and sausage. Cook, stirring often, until the kale wilts, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve with the ciabatta (if using).