Tuesday, January 8, 2013

carrot and fennel soup

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carrot and fennel soup
slightly adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
serves 4 to 6

2 tbsp. butter
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 1 c. fronds reserved and minced
680 g. (1 1/2 lbs.) carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 cm thick
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 c. chicken stock*
4 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt + more to taste
1/3 c. orange juice**
1/4 c. sour cream
freshly-ground black pepper

Set a big heavy pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Once it's heated, add the butter. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, stir in the fennel slices. Cook for 8 -- 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the fennel has softened.

Stir in the carrots and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Pour in the stalk and water, and season with salt. Let the soup come to a simmer and cover it. Let it simmer until the carrots are very tender, which should take about 20 -- 25 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat. Stir in the orange juice, sour cream and reserved fennel fronds. If your carrots are soft enough, use the back of a spoon to mash a few against the side of the pot. If they're tender but firmly intact (as mine were), push a potato masher down a few times to break them up a bit. However, this is completely optional, as this soup is meant to have a silky, fine broth with big nuggets of carrots and fennel slices. Season with lots of freshly-ground pepper, and more salt if necessary. Serve.

* The original recipe just calls for water here. If you don't have chicken stock, use water and season accordingly. But I do think the chicken stock gives a rounder, richer base to the soup.
** The original recipe calls for fresh orange juice. I obviously didn't see that when I bought a big jug of Tropicana. It was still lovely.

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