Curried Carrot and Fennel Soup

03w_carrot_soup

I’m a fairly regular subscriber to the Mariquita Mystery Box and it’s all my wife and I can do to use it up in two weeks. We ate out a couple times, so I recently had a plethora of carrots from two installments of the Mystery Box. I needed something to use up a LOT of carrots.

Janet Fletcher did a piece on Simple Spring Soups for the Chronicle a few springs ago (2006) including Carrot, Fennel & Potato Soup. I made that soup a couple of times, but thought, while good enough, it needed some oomph. I decided curry might do the trick so I modified her recipe to suit my taste thoughts.

Curried Carrot and Fennel Soup
Based on Janet Fletcher’s Carrot, Fennel & Potato Soup
Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons good curry powder
3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled, in large dice
1/2 large bulb fennel, cored and chopped
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, in large dice
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more if needed

Heavy cream or half-and-half, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Well, judging from what I had on hand in my onion basket and vegetable drawer – the Mystery Box again – here’s what I actually put together:

Curried Carrot and Fennel Soup [Mystery version]
Based on Janet Fletcher’s Carrot, Fennel & Potato Soup
Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 baby leeks, chopped, white and almost all of the green (about 3 ounces)
4 spring onions [from Star Route Farm] chopped, white and almost all of the green (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons good curry powder

3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled, in large dice [about 12 ounces]
3 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed, halved and sliced (about 7 ounces)
3 Carola potatoes [from Little Organic Farm] peeled, in large dice (1/2 pound)
4 cups home made hen broth [from a Marin Sun Farms hen]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crème fraiche (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes [less with spring onions]. Add Curry Powder and fry for about 2 minutes, moving onions around in pan so they don’t burn. Add the carrots, fennel, potatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover and adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender. Return to a clean saucepan and reheat, thinning with additional stock if necessary [I use an immersion blender, leaving a few chunks of carrot and fennel slices]. Salt during sauté and add about 2 teaspoons when cooked, to taste. Add white pepper to taste.
Divide among warm bowls and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.

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The curry gave the soup the oomph it needed and the tender young aromatic vegetables imparted a delicacy that a regular yellow onion can’t. Yum.

Janet Fletcher based her spring soups on what she calls the French-grandmother method, “Use the recipes to master the template and build your soup-making confidence, then let the market and your whims be your guide.” That’s the way I cook most often, but it’s nice to have a real cook endorse the method. That said, it’s important to start with a solid base.


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One thought on “Curried Carrot and Fennel Soup

  1. Although ‘soup season’ is about done in the Carolinas, I’ll be trying this one – substitute homemade stock from a Publix chicken (on sale) and I might not be able to resist some spring sweet onions from south Georgia.

    Like

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