When I first heard of fennel soup, I wasn’t quite sure how that would work out. You see, fennel has a pretty strong anise flavor. However, my weekly produce basket had given me fennel and thus, fennel soup made its way onto our menu. And boy am I happy it did! This Creamy Fennel Soup is one of the best soups I have ever eaten. (And I’m not a soup person!) The soup-loving Hubster agreed that this was a definite keeper.
Fennel also goes by the name “sweet anise”. Now, hold on a moment before you associate it with licorice. Anise and “sweet anise” are two very different things. Anise is a pungent pint-sized herb, while “sweet anise” (or fennel) is the hearty vegetable with the thick, bulbous base and celery-like stems. Did you know that those can grow up to 5 feet tall? Fennel has a sweeter, more delicate flavor than anise.
Throughout history, fennel – in addition to serving as a meal - has also been used to cure stomach ailments, freshen breath and help fight weight gain. It is high in Vitamin C and it is truly delicious.
Creamy Fennel Soup with Croutons
- 5 bulbs fennel with stalks (remove the feathery green tops, which you can use for a salad) – 2 1/2 to 3 lbs.
- 2 tbsp. plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken stock (I used homemade, but you can use store-bought as well)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Croutons (recipe follows)
- Remove the greens from the fennel stalks, chop them and use them for a salad if you wish.
- Cut the fennel bulbs and stalks into coarse pieces.
- Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until soft, 7 minutes.
- Add the 1 clove garlic and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
- Increase the heat to high and add the chopped fennel and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until the fennel is very tender, 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- Pureé the soup, in batches, in a blender until very smooth.
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean soup pot. Add the cream, and season with salt and pepper
(Recipe by: Joanne Weir)
- 1 French bread, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and salt & pepper. Spread evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until golden brown on top, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.
(Recipe by: Marieke Beeler, aka HRH Mommy)