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Friday, December 14, 2012

Random Food Fridays - Cream of Carrot and Fennel Soup

This latest soup is the result of my CSA box. Winter brings lettuces, carrots, fennel, greens, oranges and apples. Not all of those ended up in this soup. Carrots and fennel are the star.

Fennel has a flavor and fragrance similar to licorice. It's pretty good raw, especially with oranges. But that is not my favorite way to enjoy it. Fennel becomes rich and sweet and mild when cooked. It is a great addition to a gratin or a soup. If you've never tried fennel, you should give it a go!

Cream of Carrot and Fennel Soup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, chopped (be sure to wash out any sand)
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced thin
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups diced carrots
1 tbsp. fresh chopped tarragon, or 1 tsp. dry tarragon
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parley
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place a large pot over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the leeks, celery and fennel and sweat them down until they are translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and herbs and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are very tender. Use a hand-held blender to puree the soup. There will a few chunks. If you want this soup very smooth, puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Stir in the half and half. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Makes about 10 cups.

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