Oct 3, 2012

Carrot-Fennel Soup

Here's a super simple, very good, slightly unusual vegan soup.

- one  large sweet onion
- about 8 carrots (one bag, about 2 pounds)
- olive oil (about 1 tablespoon, give or take)
- fennel seeds (about 2 teaspoons, give or take)
- water, to cover plus one inch
- salt, to taste

• Chop the onion coarsely, saut√© in the olive oil for a long time—about an hour on very low heat—until the onion is transparent and perhaps slightly, very slightly browned. This slow cooking gives added sweetness & a bit of complexity to this soup.

sauteeing onions—about halfway carmelized
• Add the peeled carrots cut into fairly large chunks—about 1 inch lengths. Keeping them largish means they take some time to cook and allows them to impart their flavor to the broth. Along with the carrots, add salt (half a teaspoon or so) and fennel seeds (I probably use more than 2 teaspoons; it's a matter of taste). Add water to cover the ingredients, plus about 1 inch on top.

• Simmer on low heat for 30-45 minutes, or until carrots are just tender. If you let them go past this point, they will get mushy & the soup will have a vaguely gelatinous texture—reminiscent of babyfood...not good.

carrots, onions, water, salt, fennel seeds simmering
• Blend everything together while mixture is still hot/warm, otherwise the carrots will keep cooking, go mushy, and you'll have that gelatinous problem I just mentioned. (Be sure to remove the plastic knob in the middle of the blender lid in order to let heat & pressure escape, then cover the opening in the lid with a dish cloth to keep liquid from spraying out). Blend just short of homogenization. The slightest pebble-y texture is nice in this soup. Also, the fennel seeds will remain a bit nubby, which is nice.

looks plain jane, but the fennel
seeds make it special
Good hot or cold. Serve with yogurt if you like, though I prefer it plain. I sometimes bake zuchinni-basil muffins to go with this, if I have time, using Bernard Clayton's recipe