Last week, I made one version; this evening, a slightly different one.
The second version, I substituted a nice red onion for the leek and added a few mild pickled banana pepper rings, cut up, in place of the Poblano. I also added a potato, cut into 1/2" cubes.
You salt and pepper the stew beef, then squeeze the sausage out of its casing (or just start with the bulk version; there's maybe half a pound there, or a little over) into the stewpot. Let it brown while you snip the stew beef into the pan, making small (1/2" or so) chunks from the big ones, cutting across the grain. Kitchen shears are ideal for this.
Flip over the sausage once you get the beef in, and go after it with a spatula or potato masher; the latter is an ideal tool for the job. You want to break the sausage up into small chunks. Turn the heat down and leave it to brown, stirring occasionally.
Cut three or four carrots (or an equivalent amount of the peeled ones they sell in bags) into 1/2" or less sections, and add them to the pot.
Rinse the mushrooms and add them. A little water will come with, which is fine.
Take the fennel bulb, wash it well, and cut into small sections, 3/8" or so and add them to the pot.. Rinse some of the feathery fronds and add them, too. The stalks seem kind of woody and I rarely use any of them. The exposed outer sections of the bulb are sometimes kind of ugly, so that's your call.
Stir that all together and cut up the onion or leek.* You can saute it if you like, though I didn't. Add the leek or onion and that's the basic dish; you can cover it and let it cook.
If you add a potato (and now's the time), you'll probably want a little beef broth at the same time, a cup or less. If you use pickled peppers, add them now, too.
Cover and let it cook awhile, just simmering. The potato version will want at least twenty minutes, and the longer you can give either version (within reason!), the better it will be.
If you want a Poblano or other fresh pepper, that goes in last, after the rest has had at least fifteen minutes to cook. Cut it up, saute it in a non-stick pan, and add it to the stew once the color deepens and it gets aromatic.
The flavor is just wonderful; there's something about this combination that really appeals to my palate -- and Tam's, too.
* Leeks are muddy as can be. Time spent rinsing a leek will be well-rewarded, and you will probably still find mud in the greener parts. Consider yourself warned! It's a lot of work but they're mellower than an onion.