Ease into Fennel

Ease into Fennel

We are back from Germany, and after all that bread and sausage eating, its time for some low-fat food. This soup is the first thing I’ve cooked in over two weeks, and it is uber low-fat, and very flavorful. I googled carrot and fennel soup and came across quite a few, but decided on this one (with a few minor changes) from Orangette, a fabulous, fabulous food blog.

Most people don’t know what fennel is… I actually had someone stop me in the grocery store, asking me what this strange bulbous veggie in my shopping cart is. It seems people either love or hate fennel. It has a slight licorice flavor, and a wonderful crunch when eaten raw. Its fabulous thinly sliced in a salad. This soup has a combination of carrot and fennel, but the fennel definitely plays a supporting role in this soup, as the sweet carrot flavor really shines. Give fennel a chance!

I will warn you, however, this soup tastes (and is) very healthy. Although I liked the soup, Stephan didn’t care for it, and said it tasted like baby food! Gotta love brutal honesty!

Carrot and Fennel Soup Recipe

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced; fronds reserved and chopped
1 ½ lbs. carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4-5 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp lemon juice, to taste
2 Tbsp. crème fraîche, or more to taste (or sour cream)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, warm oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes. Then add the fennel slices, and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the carrots and garlic, and cook for another minute or two. Pour in 4 cups chicken broth (if, after puréeing, you feel that the soup is too thick, you can add the final cup, but it’s better to err on the side of adding too little at first), and season with salt. Simmer, covered, until the carrots and fennel are very tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the orange juice and reserved fennel fronds. If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup directly in the pot; otherwise, transfer it in batches to a food processor or blender, puréeing until smooth. Stir in the crème fraîche and lemon juice. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve warm.

Makes 6 Servings

Note: I reserved a little of the fronds, chopped it very fine, and added it just before serving as garnish.