Fennel soup with garlic croutons

Fresh fennel brings a sophisticated aniseed flavour to this mild, creamy soup, as delicious served cold as it is served hot
By Jenni Muir
Fennel soup with garlic croutons
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

main

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 bulb of fennel, chopped
  • 1 onion, or large leek, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 375 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • black pepper

For the croutons:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 slices of wholemeal bread

Method

1. Reserve any feathery tops from the fennel bulb and set aside to use as a garnish. Heat the butter gently in a large saucepan or pot, add the chopped fennel and onion or leek and cook gently, stirring often, until translucent and tender. Be sure not to let the butter burn.

2. Raise the heat under the pan and add the cubed potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

3. To make the croutons, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and allow to infuse over a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes. Trim the crusts from the bread and cut into cubes. Add the bread cubes to the frying pan and use a brush to ensure they are coated with flavoured oil on all sides. Toast, stirring often, until rich golden brown. Remove to some paper towel to drain.

4. Using an upright blender, or an electric wand, process the soup until smooth. Return to a gentle heat, add the milk and allow to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the soup into warm serving dishes and garnish with the garlic croutons, freshly milled pepper, and any reserved pieces of leafy fennel. Serve hot.

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