Tomato and Fennel Soup with Creme Fraiche
Say Hello to Fennel
If you have never cooked with fennel, this is a good recipe to give it a try. Fennel quickly became a favorite upon discovery a few years ago. Fennel is in the produce section of your grocery store. It is fairly easy to choose, and this recipe calls for one bulbs. The bulb is easily distinguished as the white bottom.
Fennel seeds are also available. This recipe can be made with a fresh fennel bulb or a tablespoon of seeds. Fennel seeds are aromatic and rather potent, so you do not need many to pack a flavorful punch. Many say the seeds resemble the taste of licorice. When fixing this recipe with fennel seeds, place them on a cutting board and them up a little bit prior to use.
Fennel is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, bedwetting, and visual problems.
WebMD - Fennel
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil, or other favorite
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 3 teaspoons dried or 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
- Dash red pepper flakes
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, or fresh equivalent
- 2 cups chicken stock, extra as needed
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- Remove and discard stalks from fennel bulb. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise, remove the tougher inner core. Chop fennel into small pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot, add chopped fennel, oinion, and carrots. Cook until tender and browning, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the creme fraiche, reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Let cool enough to blend small batches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return each batch to pot.
- Ladle into small bowls with desired amount of creme fraiche. Garnish with tarragon or pernod.
Homemade Chicken Bone Broth Recipe - Optional
If you would like to use homemade chicken bone broth in this recipe, please see the recipe at Homemade Chicken Bone Broth Recipe.
Creme Fraiche Substitute Recipe - Optional
If you are unfamiliar with creme fraiche, Creme Fraiche Kendall Farms explains:
The Larousse Gastronomique defines crème fraîche as "cream to which a lactic bacteria starter has been added which thickens the cream and gives it a slightly sharp, but not sour flavor."
Crème Fraîche originated in the dairy-producing regions of France such as Normandy, Alsace, Franche-Comté and the northern Loire. Fresh milk was left to settle overnight at cool ambient temperature to allow the cream to rise to the top and then be collected for making butter. The naturally occurring lactose-fermenting bacteria worked overnight to thicken and acidify the cream.
Creme Fraiche can be purchased in the fine cheeses section of your local grocery store, or the following tasty substitution is provided.
Prepare this 8-12 hours prior to preparing Tomato and Fennel Soup, in order for the live cultures to reproduce. These are considered the good bacteria! Combine one cup of heavy cream with 1/2 of a cup of sour cream. Cover and let stand for at least 8 hours. You should notice this mixture getting thick.
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© 2017 Kelly Christensen