Fennel & cauliflower soup

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Cooking with Karen, Recipes by Karen Gros | 0 comments

Fennel & cauliflower soup

I get inspired when I see beautiful produce at the farmers’ markets or in the grocery store; I was impressed with the massive fennel bulbs available this week at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville.

This recipe marries the freshness of spring with the comfort of winter.

Serves 4-6


3 T. + 1 T. unsalted butter
2 T. extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
2 medium yellow onions1 large fennel bulb
1 head of white cauliflower
2 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 t. dried tarragon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Fennel & cauliflower soup with tarragon

1/  Peel the onions, and cut in half through the root and sprout, lie flat side down, and slice thinly in the direction of the grain.  Cut the stalks from the fennel, reserving the fronds for garnish.  Peel the outer bulb, slice in half, and remove the core.  Slice bulb thinly across the grain.

2/  Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized stockpot.  Add the olive oil, and toss in the sliced onions.  Sprinkle generously with salt, and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes.  Add the sliced fennel, sprinkle with salt, and cook about 5 minutes.

3/  Remove the tip of the stem, along with the leaves, of the cauliflower.  Slice head in half down the middle, then quarter.  Slice off the core, and reserve 12-15 tiny florets.  Coarsely slice the remaining cauliflower, and add to the cooking pot.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cook about 5 minutes until slightly tender.  Add the stock, and add enough water to cover vegetables by 1/2-inch.  Bring to a brief boil, then reduce to simmer.  Add the tarragon (rubbing with fingers as you add it to the pot), cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until cauliflower is very tender.

4/  Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter.  Add the cauliflower florets, and cook gently about 5 minutes until tender.  Add a spoonful or two of water, if necessary, to prevent burning.  Set aside.

5/  Ladle about 2 cups of soup into a blender.  Pulse gently to start the motor, then gradually increase speed to high (in order to avoid building pressure from the hot liquid too quickly).  Be sure to secure the lid tightly, covering with a dish towel initially, if necessary, then remove the inner circle to release steam.  (The pressure from the hot soup builds quickly and could cause the lid to expel; exercise caution).  Blend on high for almost a full minute to ensure the creamiest consistency possible.  Add the lemon juice.  Taste, and add salt if desired.  Add a little water, if necessary to thin slightly.  Repeat process until all soup has been puréed.

6/  Garnish each bowl with warm cauliflower florets and fennel fronds; serve warm.

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