It’s been a while since I last posted. I’m not sure what’s been getting me down – maybe it’s the weather. We’re heading into a typically wet English winter. Wet. And dark. Sunset is at 16:06 today, which tends to eliminate all possibilities of pre- or post-dinner strolls. And the wind has been howling for days, bringing with it rain, farm smells and shifting food cravings.
Only a month ago I was a fiend for raw salads, but these days I seem to be looking for any excuse I can to turn on the oven. Roasted vegetables, hot stews and warming soups are the order of the day (and fresh baked bread to go with them). In fact, the cold season’s hearty vegetables almost make the English winter worth tolerating.
I was reminded of this a few weeks ago at The Bridge in London, where a former workmate was having a lunchtime birthday party. Like most English pubs, The Bridge’s lunch menu was a bit sparse on the vegetarian options, so I went for the soup: carrot and coriander. I have to hand it to the Bridge – their soup surprised me. It was perfect, bursting with fresh carrot and a lemony (I think) broth. It was simultaneously light and fresh but very satisfying.
The next day, I set out to recreate their carrot and coriander soup with my oodle of carrots from the Riverford Organic Box. But while searching for recipes, I found this one for Carrot Fennel Soup, which seemed to be a calling for the fennel bulb in my fridge that desperately needed a home.
Frankly, I can’t think of a better use for a fennel bulb and a surplus of carrots: this soup is dynamite! Roasting caramelizes the carrots and fennel, making for a sweet, rich soup that’s perfect for a cold winter’s day. Other bonuses: it’s easy to make, super healthy and unquestionably vegan.
Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup
The olive oil drizzle isn’t totally necessary, but it does kick things up a notch!
2 medium fennel bulbs with fronds
1 pound carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 medium onion, quartered
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
Olive oil drizzle:
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.
Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon and reserve. Discard stalks and remaining fronds. Slice bulbs 1/4 inch thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, olive oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Blend half of vegetables in a blender with broth until very smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and water. Thin to desired consistency with extra water and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, finely grind fennel seeds in grinder and stir into remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Serve soup drizzled with fennel oil and sprinkled with reserved fronds.
Serves 4. Per serving (without olive oil drizzle): 174 Calories, 11.3g Fat, 14.8 g Carbohydrates, 4.4g Protein, 3.7g Fiber