Okay, so it’s nearly summer and really I ought to be thinking about gazpacho and salads but earlier this week it was cold. And rainy. Really rainy. And sort of gloomy. The kind of weather that everyone associates with Wuthering Heights and England. Just damp, cold, foggy gloom. So I made soup. Really good soup. Really good green soup.
For all those fennel bashers out there, stay with me on this one and put aside your licorice fears. I am not a licorice or anise lover or even liker but fennel does extraordinary things when paired with spinach and a really good chicken stock. It adds a whole new depth of flavor to a soup that you would otherwise think would be better with a splash of cream.
Like all my favorite soup recipes it’s also incredibly quick to make….which is especially important if you have a little monkey around who is not such a good daytime napper.
He also happens to be the reason why I never got around to photographing the soup….what with Dr Seuss, rattles and baby yoga its hard to get time to eat, let alone make time to photograph it first. I hope you can forgive him for taking up so much of my time. Let me paint a picture of the soup for you. It’s a dark green puréed soup best served with some toasted bread covered in butter on a cold rainy spring day. I could not have photographed it better.
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Spinach and fennel soup
Adding fennel to a basic spinach soup adds a whole new dimension- don’t worry if you don’t like fennel- it’s not overpowering at all.
Makes 5 cups
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, outer leaves and green stalks removed, chopped
4 cups good quality chicken stock
1lb bunch spinach, thick stems discarded and leaves thoroughly washed
sea salt to taste
• Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fennel, stir to coat then turn the heat to low and cover. Stir occasionally until soft- about 10-15 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the heat up and stir until beginning to brown- another 5 or so minutes.
• Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from the heat. Blend in batches until smooth and then season to taste- you will probably need a good 2-3 tsp of salt if your chicken stock is unseasoned. </div>