Fennel Soup

12 May

While I was processing and freezing batches of fennel bulbs, ferns and stalks I experimented with how to make the best fennel soup with all my left over trimmings. It turned out so good, I’m posting the recipe as my new favourite soup. Absolutely delicious smooth, creamy and delicate with plenty of flavour. The colour is a little off putting but; its not what it looks like, its what it tastes like that counts.

* Fennel bulbs, stalks and ferns
* 1 onion, peeled and chopped
* 2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
* Olive oil
* cracked black pepper
* 1 tsp verdurette (home made vegetable stock) (optional)
* 2 litres water or chicken stock made with a stock cube
* 1 apple, cored & chopped
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 tsp caraway seeds

In a large roomy pan add a thin layer of olive oil. Throw the onions and garlic, with a pinch of black pepper and the caraway seeds, into the pan and fry gently for a few minutes, until the onions are soft. Wash and finely chop the fennel and add it to the pan, stir well and let it sweat. Add the rest of the ingredients cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves and liquidise the soup. Check the seasoning and serve as it is or as one of these variations, with a scattering of chopped fennel leaves.

Variations
I was on a roll with this fennel soup and ended up making several different versions, all delicious in their own way.

Fennel Velouté
Follow the recipe as above and after liquidising the soup pass it through a sieve to make an extra smooth and thinner soup, mix together an egg with a little crème fraîche and stir into the hot soup and you’ve got yourself what the French might call a Velouté de Fenouil. This version is delicate enough to be served at swanky dinner parties or in cups as a taster. More down to earth I drank the thinner soup before adding the crème fraîche and egg and it was great, a cup-a-soup on the move.

Fennel & Smoked Salmon Soup (pictured)
Follow the recipe for the Velouté and just before serving top with thin strips of smoked salmon.

Freezing The basic soup can be frozen. I recycle wide neck 1 litre plastic milk bottles, which are perfect for freezing soups.

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