Roasted Potato Fennel Soup

During the cold of winter these vegetables are always available, and make the most comforting winter dinner.  When summer vegetables arrive however, with fresh new potatoes, leeks and fennel from your own garden or farmers market, this soup is the perfect meal on a cool, rainy spring – early summer night.

Roasted potato Fennel Soup 10

I love rich, creamy soups, but what I really love …. is the toppings.  Every pureed soup needs something to create texture and bacon with fresh herbs does the job.

  • 4 pounds red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp  freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced leek
  • 3 cups sliced fennel bulb
  • 3 quarts chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 cup cream (omit if you want it to be vegan)

GARNISH

  • fresh chopped chives, parsley, basil and fennel fronds
  • crispy bacon bits

Preheat oven to 400

In large bowl toss the potatoes with olive, garlic, salt and pepper.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 1

New potatoes, tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Yum whatever you do wth them!

Spread on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through.  (use 2 sheets if necessary, you don’t want them crowded)

Saute onions, fennel and leek with 2 tbsp olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat until translucent. (I like to cook my bacon in the pot first in order to use the fat …. but for vegan or vegetarian options just omit the bacon and it’s fat).

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 3

Season every step of the way!

Add chicken or vegetable stock to onion mixture and bring it to a boil. Add roasted potatoes, turn to a gentle simmer and cook until all vegetables are soft.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 5

Puree until all vegetables are creamy … this is the point to add fresh minced herbs and the cream, if using.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 7

Taste, and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 6

Mince up a handful of fresh herbs …. 

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 9

Toss the herbs in and stir well with the blended soup.

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup 2

Prep your garnish … today I liked the idea of crunchy bacon (well honestly most soups love crunchy bacon) … as well as chives, basil and fennel fronds.

 

Hand made Gnocchi

These delightful little mini pillows of deliciousness are so fluffy and simple to make – easily ready to become your new favorite recipe!!

Bake 3 russet potatoes until tender all the way through and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

When cool enough either put them through a potato ricer, or grate them into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper and toss lightly with 1 3/4 cups flour and a grating of fresh nutmeg. (don’t worry if you don’t have fresh nutmeg – use 1/8 tsp of ground)

Lightly beat 2 eggs with 2 tbsp olive oil, and then stir into flour/potato mixture.  Mix gently until all is blended, and knead in another 1/2 cup flour.  Your dough should be soft and supple, easy to work with and not too sticky.

If you have trouble either way – just add either a bit more flour if it is too sticky, or a bit of oil if it is too dry.

Divide this mixture into 4 balls.  Roll each ball into a long skinny rope (snake if kids are helping!). Cut along length into pieces about 3/4 in each.  Dust lightly with flour.

Keep a bit of flour handy – continue dusting your hand with it so the gnocchi doesn’t stick.  Take a fork, and dust it with flour.  Turn it upside down in your hand and roll the gnocchi down the tines of the fork.  Set aside until ready to cook.

When you have all the gnocchi rolled out – and remember that they don’t need to look perfect – you are ready to cook them.

Hand made gnocchi – they don’t have to be perfect – just delicious any shape you get – neither Joe Bastianich or Mario Batali are going to criticize your form!!

Boil a HUGE pot of water – when it comes to a boil toss in a generous amount of salt.

At this point drop the gnocchi in the boiling water – it will return to the top when it is ready – let it bounce around for a moment and you are ready.

Really the gnocchi is great to eat just as is – toss it with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper – delish.

HOWEVER …. if you really want to kick it up a level:

In a heavy bottom pan (like cast iron) heat 1 tbsp each butter and olive oil – stir the white parts of 2 leeks, and 2 garlic cloves until just tender.  When the pot is really hot, push the leek mixture to one side, and drop the just boiled gnocchi onto the hot pan in small batches.  As they crisp up push them over into the leek mixture and toss in the pan – using your hot spot to continue crisping up small batches of the gnocchi.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper and I guarantee you will love it!

Roasted Potato Fennel Soup

If you aren’t sure about fennel – trust me – this is a great place to start!  The soup is so hearty and just packed with flavour.  

2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and quartered

good olive oil                                                                

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 cups yellow onions, diced

2 cups chopped fennel bulb

1 cup sliced leeks

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Garnish:  finely sliced chives and crispy bacon bits (those little purple flowers on the chives are great as part of your garnish or in a salad too!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper.  Spread on baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until cooked through and just starting to get a bit crispy.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large soup pot – saute onions, leek and fennel until translucent and tender – should be around 15 minutes.  Add roasted potatoes, including any tasty little bits stuck to your roasting sheet.  Cover with stock.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, until all vegetables are soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree until soup is smooth and velvety.

If you are using a regular blender, puree in batches.

Be very cautious to leave the lid slightly ajar or the center portion removed to allow steam to escape any time you are blending hot ingredients.

Once the soup has been blended, remove from heat – stir in heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with Baking Powder Biscuits or Crispy Gouda Herb Cornmeal Muffins