Dan Barber’s Fennel Soup

Dan Barber’s Fennel Soup

As I think I mentioned, we’re doing a vegan Christmas supper this year. We planned ahead by making and freezing a vegetable stock (hey, you’re always going to need stock, right?), but in the end, we had to make it again. This recipe from Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, calls for a vegetable stock made with fennel. Lots and lots of fennel. We felt it was essential to the success of the dish. And I think we were right. I believe that the soup was the star of the meal.

Dan Barber's Fennel Soup

Dan Barber’s Fennel Soup

For the vegetable stock:
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cups medium-diced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup medium-diced leeks
1/2 cup medium-diced carrots
3 1/4 cups medium-diced fennel
Salt
1/8 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 head garlic

For the fennel soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 small shallots, minced
3 1/2 cups diced fennel, white part only, reserving green fronds for garnish
1 apple, peeled and diced
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups vegetable stock (recipe above)
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

First you make the stock:

Dan Barber's Fennel Soup

For the vegetable stock:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and a pinch of salt, and sweat over low heat. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, garlic, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 50 minutes. Strain and chill.

For the fennel soup:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and shallots, and sweat until translucent. Add the fennel and apple, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes before adding the fennel seeds and stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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