Soupe de fenouil à l’écorce d’orange
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 the latest copy of the French cooking magazine Saveurs 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 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 stop at my local market, 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. 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.
- Olive oil for cooking
- 2 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
- 3 large fennel bulbs, about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds), cored and chopped, sprigs reserved
- about 15 strips candied orange peel, 4 strips left whole, the remaining strips diced
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 750 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
- 1 to 2 tablespoons orange marmelade
- Frehsly ground black pepper
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onions for a few minutes, until softened and slightly translucent.
- Add the fennel, diced orange peel, coriander seeds, salt, and stock. Cover, bring to a simmer and let cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the fennel is very tender.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender. Add 1 tablespoon marmalade and some black pepper over low heat. Taste and add more marmalade to taste. Serve in bowls, topped with a candied orange strip and a sprig fennel.