Roasted Fennel and Somerset Cider Soup

Tony Brandon's creamy fennel soup has a fruity cider flavour and makes an ideal choice for taking the chill out of autumnal days
Roasted Fennel and Somerset Cider Soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 2 large bulb fennel, including the feathery leaves
  • 2 large red onions, peeled
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 bunch sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 330 ml dry cider
  • 1 litre good-quality vegetable stock
  • 300 ml double cream
  • glug of Somerset apple brandy or calvados

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Trim the feathery leaves off the fennel and reserve a few for the garnish. Trim the fennel bulbs, removing the tough outer layers, and cut each one into 8 wedges. Cut the onions into similar-sized pieces.

2. Put the fennel and onion in a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the lemon thyme, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and freshly ground black pepper over the vegetables. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until lightly caramelised.

3. Remove the roasting tin from the oven, pour the cider over the vegetables and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes - until the cider has almost been absorbed.

4. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, then spoon the roast vegetables and juices into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer the vegetable puree to a large saucepan and stir in the stock. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer over a medium heat until reduced by about a third.

5. Cool slightly before straining the soup through a fine sieve. Return to the rinsed-out pan, stir in the cream, and reheat. Add the apple brandy just before serving. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped fennel leaves.

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