fennel and pea soup

fennel and pea soup

The best way to describe snow day this week, would be to call it interesting. Having the stairway to your front entrance completely layered with several inches of snow was probably the craziest way to wake up. Snoopy didn't mind and he ate his way through, we on the other hand had to figure out where the steps were. Still we had so much fun in the snow. It was really nice to get the day off from work and use the time to relax. Those of you that were hit by the storm, I hope you stayed warm and safe with your loved ones. We drove down to the farm this weekend and already had another bout of snow but everything looks beautiful and white out here in Virginia. (I'll be sharing photographs on Instagram and Facebook). As much as I complain about cold weather, I am always amazed by the breathtaking beauty of snow laced mountains and hills in the countryside.

fennel

Fennel is one of the most aromatic and wonderful vegetables that I really enjoying cooking with. It is simply delicious and the shape intriguing (I'm always thinking of those crying baby Mandrakes from Harry Potter when I look at them). This soup is light, clean and healthy with very few ingredients that give it a delicious flavor. There is a luxurious creaminess to this soup without the need for heavy cream to but instead it simply relies on the peas to give that extra level of richness.

oven roasted fennel and peas

I used a two-step process to cook the vegetables by first caramelizing the natural sugars of the vegetables in the oven and then cooking them in water to make a flavorful stock. I also season the olive oil by infusing the hot oil with some fennel seeds and drizzle that over the soup. The garnish is completely optional but it really is worth it!

creamy fennel and pea soup


fennel pea soup

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1 fennel bulb with stems, fresh
3 cups peas, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
juice of one fresh lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, for garnish
a few fresh fennel leaves, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and place a wire rack at mid height of the oven. Slice the stems off the fennel and quarter bulb. Place the fennel and peas in baking tray and toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the bulb turns lightly brown.
2. Transfer the vegetables to a large stockpot. Add the water and bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame. Cook until the vegetables are completely soft and tender for about 20-25 minutes.
3. Remove the stockpot from the stove. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Alternatively, transfer the vegetables and half of the liquid to a food processor or blender and pulse until completely smooth and creamy. Transfer the contents back to the stockpot.  Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cook on a medium-low heat with occasional stirring. 
4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan on a medium-high flame for 45 seconds, as soon as the oil gets hot add the fennel seeds and cook them for 10 seconds. Remove from the stove and drizzle the fennel and olive oil seasoning over the soup. Alternatively, you can also garnish the soup in individual bowls and drizzling them with the seasoning. Garnish the soups with a fresh fennel leaves. Serve warm with slices of toasted bread.