I'm not crazy about following recipes generally, but I am crazy about Ina Garten. And I'm trying to become a better cook, which probably won't happen if I'm just always making stuff up without a ton of direction. I have recently acquired quite a few new cookbooks, so I'm hoping to expand myskills and learn some new techniques, which I can in turn pass on to you! The first thing I made out of "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" was this Roasted Potato Fennel Soup. It took a good bit of time (as soup generally will), but it was definitely worth it. I'm in a fall state of mind, even if it's still sundress weather around here for the most part. This was my first time using fennel, and I absolutely loved it. I still have a big tupperware container of this in the freezer, and I'm pretty sure Leon and I will have gotten about four meals out of this soup when all is said and done. Ina's recipe is supposed to serve 10-12 and I halved it. I'll post herportions so that you can adjust as you like.
This was a really nice, hearty and earthy fall soup. I'm not huge on potato soups typically, but the fennel adds a whole other dimension to this. Potato, fennel and onions should be cheap and easy to find in your grocery store during the colder months, unlike a lot of other produce. Serve with a cold salad or some crusty bread while wearing a pair of warm, fuzzy socks for maximum enjoyment.
Roasted Potato Fennel Soup
4 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic (about three cloves)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chopped yellow onions (4 onions)
4 cups chopped fennel bulb (about 2 pounds)
3 quarts chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Chopping that delicious, aromatic fennel
The soup boiling, shot with my new fisheye lens :)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until cooked through. (I try to use high calorie items like butter and oil sparingly, so I used a little less than this but it still coated the potatoes).
3. Saute the onions and fennel with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the roasted potatoes (including pan scrapings, for flavor) and the chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the head and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until all of the vegetables are very soft. Add teh heavy cream and allow the soup to cool slightly.
5. Pass the soup through the largest disk of a food mill or chop coarsely in the food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and reheat if necessary.
Note: I used the food processor to homogenize the soup. The first time I put it through for a little too long, so there weren't any chunks of potato or other veggies. Just a couple pulses should do, check frequently to make sure that you don't over-process it.