I remember the first time I cooked with fennel and my son asked me if he could taste the white licorice. That didn’t go over so well…I fear I had to give him real candy after that episode. Luckily, I know better than a 5 year-old and have learned that roasting fennel is a fantastic way to accentuate its signature smack.
In my opinion, the best way to use roasted fennel is in soups. I have tried it with potatoes, celery and bacon…yum. And, with zucchini, yellow squash, white beans and rosemary…double yum. But, my absolute favorite way is to marry its distinct flavor with tomatoes, oranges, and fresh dill weed. I not only love this soup for its delicious taste, but adore it for the ease in which it can be made.
Roast. Stew. Blend. It is in these three easy steps that the soup comes together. First, roast fennel, onions, and celery with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, stew petite diced tomatoes, garlic, and oranges over the stove top. Then, finish it in a blender with fresh dill weed, broth and fennel fronds. It is literally that easy to create this warm and satisfying bowl of creamless tomato soup.
Savor by the spoonful! Xoxo, E.
- FOR THE ROASTED VEGETABLES
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 Fennel Bulb, white part only, chopped, rinsed (approx. 1 cup)
- ½ Sweet Vidalia Onion, chopped (approx. ½ cup)
- 1 Celery Stalk, chopped (approx. ¼ cup)
- ½ t Salt
- ½ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- FOR THE STEWED TOMATOES
- 1 T Unsalted Butter
- 1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced (approx. 1 tsp.)
- 1 Large Seedless Orange, cut into 8 sections with the peel on
- TO FINISH THE SOUP
- ¾ cup Orange Juice
- 1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 t Fennel Fronds, finely chopped
- 2 t Fresh Dill Weed, finely chopped
- ¼ t Salt
- ¼ t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- On a large baking sheet, toss the fennel, onion, and celery with the olive oil. Season with the salt and black pepper and roast for 15 minutes, tossing twice during cooking. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the petite diced tomatoes and garlic. Squeeze the juice from the orange sections and add them to the pot. Increase the heat to Medium-High and bring the tomatoes and oranges to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to Low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the orange wedges.
- Transfer the stewed tomatoes and roasted vegetables to a blender and add the orange juice, chicken broth, herbs and seasoning. Puree until smooth and enjoy served warm with a garnish of fresh dill.