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 . . . .
* * *
To cut fennel, see:
And to cut leeks, see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm6XGDwjJQA. Good idea. I wish I had watched this before.
Makes about 7, 1 cup servings
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:
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.
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