Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fennel, Leek and Potato Soup Even Your Kids Will Love

I try to expose my children to new foods, flavors, and scents as much as possible.  So on Sunday, I introduced them to fennel with this lovely soup. Since I wasn't sure whether they would like it, I had leftover turkey meatloaf as a backup. 




When I started cutting the fennel bulb, I had my children smell the licorice aroma.  They both looked at me like I was crazy, they had that mom's-going-to-have-us-eat-something-weird look, and reminded me how much they don't like licorice. They were a little worried about the end result.  I too was a little worried . . . licorice soup . . . kind of strange . . . not sure about this . . . .



Well, in the end, I didn't need to take out the leftover meatloaf. My kids loved it, especially with garlic-rubbed italian bread on the side.

* * *

I've cooked with leeks before, so I knew how to prepare them. But I needed a tutorial on fennel. Here's what I learned. I also included a link about trimming leeks:


To cut fennel, see:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4688747/how_to_cut_fennel/.
And to cut leeks, see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm6XGDwjJQA.  Good idea. I wish I had watched this before.


RECIPE
Makes about 7, 1 cup servings
Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
2  cups chopped fennel bulb (about 2 small bulbs)
2  cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
1 3/4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled baking potato
1 1/4  cups water
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8  teaspoon black pepper
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
Fennel fronds (optional)


  • My method: Melt butter in a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel and leek, sauté 4 minutes or until soft. Add potato, water, salt, fennel seeds, pepper, and broth, and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer with a cover for 20 minutes or until potato is fork tender. Place half of the soup in a blender and process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl and repeat procedure with remaining soup. Return pureed soup to pan and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Use fennel fronds as garnish if you'd like.

  • To print recipe, go to http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000000521640


I felt the soup needed a little more flavor so I added about 1/8 teaspoon of fresh nutmeg.  



I used 2 cups of potatoes instead of 1 3/4. 

And instead of pouring the soup into a blender to puree, I used an immersion blender. It took a little extra muscle to get a smooth finish but worth it. 

The soup went from this:


To this:

The Fronds!
Right after filling our bowls I remembered the fronds. Oh, the fronds! The fronds! Wait!  Need to add the fronds!  Well, standing there with a bunch of fronds in my hands, I couldn't remember if they were optional or how to use them. Too late, we wanted to eat, I placed a pinch of fronds in my bowl for a garnish. 



* * *

I placed the leftover soup into individual glass serving containers so the kids can easily reheat in the microwave when they get home from school:


After reading more about cooking with fennel I learned its flavor becomes mild when cooked, so that's why it didn't have a strong licorice taste.

Nutritional facts:

Fennel is a good source of vitamin C, folate, potassium, antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory 

Leeks are a good source of potassium, B6, iron, folate and manganese, which is good for digestion and normal bone growth


2 comments:

  1. Mon Dieu the fronds. I'm sure the soup is marvelous with or without them. And nutmeg... nice touch - never would have thought to add that spice. Very creative you are. Enjoy!

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  2. Thanks Jayne! I got the idea to use nutmeg because this recipe is a take on Vichyssoise. When I looked up Vichyssoise, I saw that it typically has nutmeg. Voila!

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