CSA 2011 · Recipes

RECIPE: Potato-fennel soup with browned onions

Another favorite inspired by Mollie Katzen’s classic, the New Moosewood Cookbook!

I really didn’t know how to use up the several bunches of fennel I got in my CSA throughout the past few weeks. It cooks up nicely with a fat like bacon or in a quiche, but I just wasn’t in the mood for an egg dish this week, and I don’t eat meat. I have been under the weather, though, so I figured what better to cook when you’re getting over a cold than a comforting, flavorful, vegetarian soup? So that’s what I made. As a bonus, fennel — with its faint licorice flavor — reminds me so much of my time in Italy that I can’t help but be uplifted when I catch a whiff of it simmering on the stovetop.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 TBSP butter or oil (I actually use equal parts of both — they each prevent the other from burning)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 4 medium potatoes, average fist size, unpeeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup freshly minced fennel bulb
  • 1/2 TSP caraway seeds (sub cumin if can’t find these)
  • 4 cups water
  • white pepper, to taste (use black in a pinch)
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS = sour cream, thinned with a whisk (add in chopped scallions for some zip!) & the feathery tops of the fennel, well minced (I did not add this).
DIRECTIONS
1) Melt the butter and/or oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add the onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 mins, or until onions are extremely soft and lightly browned.
2) Add the potatoes, another 1/2 tsp of salt, the minced fennel bulb, and the caraway seeds or cumin (to taste if substituting). Saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes, then add water. Bring to a boil, then partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender (at least 15 minutes).
3) Taste to adjust salt (it will probably need more). Add pepper. Serve hot, topped with a decorative swirl of thinned sour cream and/or minced feathery fennel tops.

Yum!! And the best part is, it reheats VERY well.
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