- Serves: 4-6
- Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Effort: medium
- 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
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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