Fennel Soup is pure seduction. Many Americans have yet to get turned on to fennel. Any chance I get to sneak in those veggies that are somewhat neglected in America, and beloved beyond, I am there: So for today, that will be Fennel! Fennel and anise seeds are a constant in many of our Moroccan dishes, both sweet and savory, and make our bread beautifully fragrant. It works its unseen magic and yields a silky texture and sweet – but not cloyingly sweet – flavor. Its caloric content is ideally low. A real nutritional bargain too!
Like in all my soups (except of course chicken or beef soup), my “stock” is … water because too many wonderful flavors are packed in to need boosting from any nefarious commercial soup powder broth or stock or goodness knows what else, thank you very much!
We want to keep this fennel soup nice and pale (no colors), a sort of trompe l’oeuil Vichyssoise, so be sure you use yellow zucchini. My Fennel soup is good year-round, as it is perfect served hot or chilled.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 large leeks, sliced
- 8 cloves garlic
- 6 ribs celery, peeled
- Heads and leaves of 3 large fennel bulbs (save some leaves for garnish)
- 3 large yellow zucchini, cut in large chunks
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 tablespoon anise or fennel seeds
- 2 quarts (8 cups) water
- 2 cups dry white wine
- Salt to taste
- 4 cups full-fat milk or non-dairy milk (richer soup: make it 3 cups milk or dairy-free milk + 1 cup coconut milk)
- Ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. In a food processor, coarsely grind the leeks, garlic and celery. Add to the skillet and sauté until translucent. Add all but last 2 ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, covered, 30 minutes. Add the milk and pepper, and bring to just below boiling point. Cream the soup with an immersion blender. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Serve hot or chilled, topped with fennel leaves.