Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Roasted Potato & Fennel Soup

by heather

The past two weeks, the bountiful basket has included fennel. Fennel is awesome. It has vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, fiber, calcium and iron. A one cup serving contains 27 calories. Fennel reportedly has medicinal properties, improving digestive health and helping with menstrual cramps. It even makes multiple appearances in Greek mythology, and was used as an award for ancient marathon runners. How would that feel? ‘You just ran 25 miles in sandals. You win a VEGETABLE!’ I personally would have been pissed. Give me my ice cream and medal thank you very much. All parts of the fennel plant are edible, and the plant has a licorice aftertaste. I had never cooked with fennel before, or seen it in real life before it appeared in my basket.

Fortunately I found a recipe in Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week to help me out. It was perfect because our friend from Idaho recently gave us a whole lot of potatoes. Isa claims this recipe is ‘life-changing’, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was delicious. My husband said it was his favorite vegan soup, yet. My girls loved it, particularly the little one. What toddler eats a bowl of fennel soup, and then commandeers her mother’s bowl and eats half of that? My toddler, that’s who. :) Thing 2 wouldn’t try it, but then he rarely eats anything because he has the power of photosynthesis.

Alternatively we took one fennel bulb, sauteed it in a pan with an onion until everything was caramelized and ate it on pita with seitan and spicy mustard. That was amazing. I’ve been mixing the fronds in salads for a tasty twist. (Even my toddler liked it.) I tried roasting the stalks, but they turned out really tough and chewy, not such a fan.

Roasted Potato & Fennel Soup

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1″ chunks
olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin slices
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon dill weed
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk, at room temp

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. On the first sheet, spread potato chunks. Drizzle with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of black pepper. Bake potatoes for 15 minutes.

3. On seconds sheet, place onions and fennel slices. Prepare just like potato chunks.

4. Pull potatoes out of the oven and flip chunks over. Put both pans in the oven for 10 minutes. Pull out onion/fennel sheet and flip vegetable pieces over. Cook until caramelized. (She said 5-10 minutes. I found it took more like 30.)

5. Puree in a blender or food processor with broth, dillĀ  and milk. (I tried doing this with an immersion blender and found it to be pretty ineffective.) Don’t over blend. It should be creamy, with a few small chunks. Garnish with fennel fronds. I served it pumpernickel slices, and we ate the leftover with a crusty European rye bread. Both complement it well.

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