January 29, 2004
[Fennel and Orange Peel Soup]
Introducing... the latest brainchild of my soup kick! I was on the bus home from work a few days ago (you know, line 67, my food thought lab?), thinking about the soup I would make for dinner. I had half a mind to make some kind of winter squash soup, and was toying with the idea of adding candied orange peel to make it more interesting. I had just picked up one of my favorite cooking magazines in France, Saveurs (which I can't believe doesn't even have a website, I mean really : remind me what century this is?), and was idly leafing through it, stomach grumbling (inevitable reaction when looking at food pics at 7:30pm), when I spotted the section on fennel.
My love of fennel is somewhat paradoxical. I normally hate anything aniseed (ooh, "anything aniseed"! That would sound nice if I didn't hate anything aniseed!) and I dislike the smell of raw fennel, but once it's thoroughly cooked and tender, it takes on a sweet and caramelized flavor I adore. So I just avoid breathing through my nose as I chop, and wait for the heat to work its magic.
Which is why, upon looking at this article, I thought : "Fennel soup! Now, that would be great with orange peel!". And so, after a quick hop to my supermarket's produce aisle, I got home and whipped this up.
I was very happy with the result : it is infused with subtle flavors, and the cooked and pureed fennel gives it a lovely texture. The leftovers were even better the next day!
Soupe de Fenouil aux Ecorces d'Orange
- three bulbs of fennel
- two onions
- about 15 strips of candied orange peel
- 2 tbsp orange marmelade
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp brown sugar or molasses
- olive oil
- salt, pepper
Peel and chop the onions. Heat up some olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions on medium heat for a few minutes. Wash the fennel bulbs, cut off the stalks (reserve the little sprigs), remove the hearts and chop. Dice the orange peel.
When the onions are softened and slightly translucent, add the fennel, orange peel, coriander seeds, salt and pepper, and the stock. Cover, bring to a simmer and let cook for twenty to twenty-five minutes, until the fennel is thoroughly cooked.
Transfer all or part of the solids into a food processor, puree and return to the saucepan. Stir over low heat, adding the orange marmelade and brown sugar. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve in bowls, topped with a candied orange strip and a little sprig fennel if you feel all fancy and garnish-ish.
You can also soft-boil an egg, peel it and break it open in the bowl of soup, for a lovely blend of tastes and a complete meal.
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