The last few days have been unbelievably beautiful -- warm, with soft golden light, and the leaves which have just begun to color slowly drifting to the ground. More of the same is predicted for tomorrow and the next day. Not really soup weather at all. However, cold and rainy weather is out there somewhere in our not too distant future and I look forward to making this again.
I suspect fennel of having some sort of addictive quality because I've yet to find a fennel soup that I didn't immediately love and crave. I've had fennel and squash soup, and fennel and tomato soup, but my favorite so far is fennel with leek soup.
This also happens to be the easiest soup ever:
Fennel Leek Soup (adapted from the wonderful and highly recommended Herbfarm Cookbook)
1 large fennel bulb
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon Pernod (optional)
2 cups of chicken broth
1. Clean, then dice the leek. (Although I usually end up chopping it, and then washing it; it seems easier to get the grit out that way.)
2. Trim, then core the fennel. I find it easiest to do this by quartering the fennel lengthwise. It's then easy to see what's core and what's not. Dice the fennel quarters.
3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the leeks and fennel. Salt lightly. Cook, stirring occasionally until the leeks are translucent. This will take between five and ten minutes.
4. Add the broth (and Pernod if you're using it) and simmer until the fennel is soft. This will take about half an hour.
5. Let the soup cool a little and then transfer the soup to a blender and blend until the soup is smooth. (I tried blending this with an immersion blender but thought it wasn't as effective as the regular blender. Fennel is fibrous stuff.) Remember to be careful whenever you blend hot liquid: Hold down the top of the blender using a folded dish towel.
6. Return it to the soup pot and reheat. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Serve.
And some more from elsewhere: