Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fennel and Apple Soup (cold or warm, its awesome)

I know, sounds kinda strange right? But truth is, this soup is delicious. I was inspired to create this from a soup I had at DOC Wine Bar in Brooklyn. (I will write about this place someday as well. It has a delicious, Italian inspired menu along with an awesome wine cellar with some good deals. The interior is warm and rustic and there is seating outside when the weather is nice. DOC Wine Bar 83 North 7th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

The soup at DOC was served cold and it was perfect for summer. The chef wouldn't reveal his secret recipe, but he did allude to the fact that there were no more than 5 ingredients and it did not have cheese or dairy in it, despite the fact it was so delicious and creamy. Since I haven't been able to stop thinking about this soup, I decided to come up with my own rendition, and to my surprise, it tastes almost exactly like the one I keep dreaming about. (I actually ate mine warm and it really brought out the apple and fennel flavors. It also helps get the chill out of you on these cold nights.) It is also very healthy.

Fennel and Apple Soup

2 Fennel Heads Coarsely Chopped (looks like celery and smells like licorice)
3 Peeled Apples Chopped Coarsely (Skins Discarded) (Sweeeter is better, I used Gala)
5 Cloves Garlic Coarsely Chopped
2 Cups of Vegetable Stock (or water if stock isn't available)
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion or Shallot Coarsely Chopped
1 Small Bunch of Fresh Dill Chopped (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pesto or flavored oil (for garnish)


In a large saucepan, saute garlic and onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Add fennel and apples and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the apples are soft and the fennel has begun to carmelize and brown. (If the mixture begins to brown too fast or burn, put a little stock in early.) Add the dill and saute for a few more minutes and then add the stock. Cook until the stock comes to a boil and then remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Next, put the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until the soup is creamy and smooth. Return soup to the pan. (Optionally, you can put the mixture through a mesh strainer or a food mill to get out some of the "strings" of the fennel and make the soup even smoother. You don't have to if you don't mind a little more texture in your soup.) Cook over a low heat for a few more minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Let soup cool and serve with a swirl of pesto, olive oil, or a flavored oil on top. (You can also serve this cold by putting in the refrigerator overnight.) You will swear there is cheese or cream in this when it is really just the richness of the veggies! Enjoy!

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