We've been pulling up a lot of fennel bulbs in my local community vegetable patch of late. Some of the volunteers weren't sure what to do with them apart from slicing and throwing them raw into a salad (they're especially good tossed with orange slices and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil). They're also good roasted and go well with grilled fish or roast chicken.
And they're great in this creamy soup, inspired by a recipe I found recently in Gourmet Traveller.
The addition of the Pernod is optional but does enhance the anise flavour.
Serve garnished with smoked salmon and fennel fronds - or try serving it cold, like vichyssoise.
- Prep Time : 25 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- Yield : 4
- olive oil - 1 tablespoon
- unsalted butter - 30g
- medium white onion - 1, chopped
- garlic - 2 cloves, minced
- fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon, lightly crushed
- fennel bulbs - 2 medium-large (approx 700g), coarsely chopped
- large sebago potato - 1, peeled and chopped
- Pernod - 1 - 2 tablespoons
- chicken or vegetable stock - 800ml, plus more if needed
- pouring cream - 200ml
- extra pouring cream - 100ml, for swirling
- smoked salmon (or gravlax or smoked ocean trout) - 4 thin slices
- fennel fronds - a few, washed and dried
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium large pan. Add the onion, garlic, fennel bulbs and fennel seeds and cook until until softened and just beginning to caramelise, stirring occasionally. Add the potato and deglaze with Pernod. Add the stock, cover and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer uncovered until potato is tender, 15 - 20 minutes. Season to taste and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to the pan - if too thick, add a little extra stock or boiling water. Add the cream, stirring until combined over low heat.
Ladle into soup bowls. Swirl in a little pouring cream and garnish with smoked salmon and a few fennel fronds.