Friday, December 17, 2010

Tomato-Fennel Soup

News! News and revelations! In July, the Vegetarian, Ozzy and I moved in together to a spacious one-bedroom in the Lincoln Center area of Manhattan. Moving in during the summer certainly made me more eager to cook (that and discovering the adorable Tucker Square Greenmarket only a few blocks away) but focusing on creating healthy vegetarian meals made me far less adventurous. So I invested in a few new vegetarian cookbooks, revisited ones I already owned and decided to let my kitchen creativity come out in other ways--meal planning, substitutions, etc. and let writing and creating my own recipes disappear.

Then I got busy. From October through December I've been working on no fewer than 3 projects at a time, which left very little time for cooking and even less energy. We began ordering in frequently, buying prepared foods, etc. Getting frustrated with our complacency, we joined a wine CSA. And when the wines began arriving, I started recipe planning again. Each new wine created a new list of delightful-sounding recipes culled from cookbooks and the internet. Of course, there are many more recipes than we can realistically have with one bottle of wine! But that was enough to get me back into the kitchen, tasting, experimenting and playing. Now, when we have free time, cooking together has become one of the Vegetarian and my favorite activities!

So, without further ado, here is the most recent creation: Tomato-Fennel Soup. With the recent cold spell, we needed something warming but, wanting to remain healthy, trim and energetic, I've been craving lighter, more summery flavors. Obviously fresh tomatoes are no good this time of year. But canned tomatoes can be cooked down into a delicious soup. And, with the addition of some fresh fennel and a bit of cumin, this turned into a lovely dish. Served alongside a Fresh Tofu Salad and a bottle of Sardinian Vermentino, it became a complete meal.

Tomato-Fennel Soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 shallots, chopped finely
  • 2 baby carrots, chopped finely
  • 1 28-ounce can whole sauce tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mushroom broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons fennel leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in a medium stockpot over medium-low heat. Add fennel bulb, shallots and carrots and cook, stirring, 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, salt, cumin and pepper. Raise heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Still covered, return heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with your spoon. Remove from heat and blend, using an immersion blender. You can leave the soup as chunky or as smooth as you desire. Ours was somewhere in between. Serve hot, sprinkled with fennel leaves and cilantro. Enjoy!

Links to other tomato fennel soup noshes:

No comments: