Excerpted from The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations by Kim O'Donnel
- 1 fennel bulb (about 3⁄4 pound)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-size onion, chopped roughly (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 pound carrots, scrubbed thoroughly, peeled, and cut into
- 2-inch pieces (about 5 medium-size carrots)
- 1 (1 1⁄2-pound) sweet potato or garnet yam, scrubbed thoroughly, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄8 teaspoon paprika or medium- heat ground chile pepper
- A few whole sprigs of fresh thyme (optional but nice)
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds, for garnish
- tools: Immersion or stand blender or food processor
Remove the fronds from the fennel bulb and cut the bulb into slices about 1⁄4-inch thick.
In a large soup pot fitted with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, and garlic and cook until the fennel and onion are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and sweet potato and stir until coated by the oil. Stir in the salt, coriander, paprika, and thyme (if using), making sure the seasonings are well distributed.
Pour in the water, which will just cover the vegetables. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover,
and simmer until the carrots and sweet potato are fork tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the fennel seeds in a skillet over low-medium heat and toast until slightly golden, about 2 minutes. Shake the skillet to keep from burning. Remove from the heat and reserve for garnish.
Remove the thyme sprigs, then carefully puree the soup (it will be hot!), using an immersion blender, stand blender, or food processor, until smooth and well blended. If pureeing off the stove, return the soup to the heat, taste for seasoning, and adjust accordingly. Heat until warmed through, and serve hot, with a sprinkling of the fennel seeds.
Makes about 6 servings