On a trip to the snow earlier this year we stopped in at a café for some lunch. Piper, my daughter ordered this soup and it has been a staple in our house ever since. She loved it so much she even requested it for her birthday dinner meal this year.
This soup takes the classic leek and potato soup to another level. The caramelised fennel adds a depth of complexity that is both warm and subtle but watch out, it’s difficult to stop at one bowl!
Leek, Potato and Caramelised Fennel Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 onion, diced
2 leeks, washed well and sliced
1 medium–large potato, washed and roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb, stalks removed and roughly chopped
Place fennel on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with about a table spoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place in moderate oven and bake until soft and edges start to brown and caramelise. Approximately 25minutes.
While the fennel is cooking in the oven, heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the leek and sauté for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the potato and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the water and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat a little and cook uncovered for 20–30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the roast fennel and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or use a stick blender to blend the soup until smooth. You may need to add a little more water depending on how thick or thin you like it. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with yoghurt and warm crusty bread and butter.
• Add more potato to make a more starchy version.
• To make a thicker soup, use less water.
• Use two fennel bulbs instead of one.
Thermomix: If you are making this in your Thermomix, simply follow recipe as above but sauté onion, leek and potato in Thermo for 5mins speed 2 at 100 degrees. Add stock and water, continue to cook on speed 2 at 100 degrees. Add fennel and continue to cook for 5-10minutes until vegetables are cooked (speed 2 at 100 degrees). Once vegetables are soft, blend on speed 8-9 for approximately 1 minute or until soup is velvety smooth.