I am sure that each blogger has a favorite approach to getting their posts prepared. The Bewitching Kitchen has been around for almost 5 years, and I more or less settled on a pace of two posts per week, which suits me well. It is not too stressful, and allows me to work on new articles exclusively during the weekend. For the most part, I have a backup of 8 or more posts lined up, so the recipes you see on my blog were probably at our table several weeks earlier… but sometimes I make something so tasty that I feel like blogging about it right after finishing the meal. It was the case for this soup, simple ingredients, quick to prepare, but it feels like something worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Creamy, luscious, without a single drop of heavy cream in it. I had noticed the recipe on Cooking Light, and even jotted down the ingredients on my shopping list. But the weather turned a little warmer, and soup left my mind. What changed all that? Steve’s post at Oui, Chef… His description of this fennel entity left me craving for a bowl, no matter the temperature outside. End of story.
FENNEL SOUP WITH ALMONDS AND MINT
(slightly modified from Oui, Chef)
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups sliced fennel bulb (I used two large bulbs)
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (I added 1 tsp)
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 ounce grated Parmigiano cheese
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add fennel, onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender (do not brown), stirring occasionally.
Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, and beans. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Place half of mixture in a blender. remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in the lid. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with the balance of the mixture.
Combine almonds, mint, zest and cheese. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with almond mixture and if desired drizzle a little olive oil before serving.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: You know one of my greatest pet peeves? Soups that are finished off with a load of heavy cream. A couple of years ago, while watching a show by Pioneer’s Woman, I literally screamed at the TV when she shared a recipe for the “best ever” cauliflower soup. I swear that her version was 5% cauliflower, 15% butter, 20% cheese, 20% milk, 40% heavy cream. Heck, you can omit the cauliflower, add powdered rocks instead and people will be licking their spoons! And now that I elegantly stepped out of my soap box, I can tell you that this soup takes the exact opposite approach. Using white beans to improve the texture is a trick I shall not forget. The fresh mint they had at the store was not looking very good, so I used some dried mint instead (added it together with the beans) and topped the soup with minced fennel fronds. Fresh dill would be great there too.
At Oui, Chef you can see a gorgeous photo for the soup, with mint leaves floating on top, quite artistic. Pay Steve a visit and say hello… He is an impressive guy: father of five (!!!!), with a cool one-line bio…
“I’m a blogger on a mission to encourage parents to teach their kids how to cook and eat well”.
But don’t take that statement lightly, he spent two years in France, got “Le Grande Diplome” at Cordon Bleu, and also studied at The Ritz Escoffier, Lenotre, and Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin. Beyond impressive. If that was not enough, he is also a fan of Tony Horton’s P90X. See? P90Xers are slowly taking over, one food blog and one pull-up at a time… 😉
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