Saturday, November 12, 2011
Carrot and Fennel Soup
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...At risk of life and limb, I'm throwing tradition to the wind and plan to serve a non-traditional feast on Thanksgiving Day. I'm not jaded or blase, I'd just like something different for a change. At some point before the holiday, I'll stuff and roast a turkey. That will guarantee the aromas of the holiday grace my kitchen and assure leftovers for midnight sandwich raids, but the big day itself is going to feature new dishes that we've tried and found to be exceptional. My intent, please God, is to prepare a meal where every course has the socks of the assembled guests going up and down. I plan to start with a soup that was new to us this year. It has quite a pedigree. Amanda Hesser created a chunky version of the soup for The New York Times Magazine and Molly Wizenberg featured a pureed version of it on her blog, Orangette. It is wonderful either way, but I'm going with the pureed version of it for the holiday. I have lovely small cups for creamed soups that I like to use as starters for holiday meals and they are perfect for serving small portions of this vibrant, nearly creamless, soup. It is, of course, delicious, but it has the added virtues of being cheap and easy. While my description is a bit inelegant, it is apt, and the soup is a perfect starter for special meals. It has bright and layered flavors and can be made a day or two ahead of serving, so please hold on to your socks. You are going to love this one. Here's the recipe.
Carrot-and-Fennel Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Amanda Hesser and Molly Wizenberg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced; fronds reserved
1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 to 4 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1) In a large heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter until foamy. Add fennel slices and cook, stirring, until softened. Add carrots and garlic and cook another minute or two. Pour in 4 cups of vegetable stock and season with salt. Simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
2) Remove soup from heat and stir in orange juice, sour cream and reserved fennel fronds. If you have an immersion blender puree soup in pot, otherwise puree in batches using a food processor or blender. If soup appears too thick, thin with reserved vegetable stock. Adjust seasoning to taste. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.
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