Leek + Fennel Bisque

onion fennel bisqueAdapted from Gourmet

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped (set aside stems/fronds) – 3-4 cups
  • 3 medium small leeks, light green and white parts only, chopped – 3 cups
  • 3 medium large onions, chopped – 5-6 cups
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar (or 1/4 cup white wine)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable/chicken stock
  • 1 pinch nutmeg (allspice will work)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 slices of bacon (optional), chopped
  • 1 cup half and half
  • salt/black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat 5-6 qt dutch oven/pot over medium high Heat. Add butter, swirl to coat bottom, and sauté fennel, leeks, onions, garlic 15 min or. Salt generously. Stir in nutmeg.
  2. Add white wine and let it boil away. 1 min.
  3. Add stock, season to taste, simmer 10-15 min. Stock should not immerse vegetables.  This will end up being a thick bisque, not a runny soup.
  4. In a separate bowl, add cream and ladle in soup slowly to bring temperature up. Slowly incorporate cream mixture into pot. Continue to simmer, 15 min. Soup will thicken slightly. No need to stir.
  5. Heat separate frying pan over medium heat. Fry bacon. set aside.
  6. In batches, blend soup with caution until smooth. Last chance to salt to taste! Amazing what a pinch of salt can bring out. Once it passes that threshold of perfectly salted, all the flavors will come out. Left under-salted, this bisque will taste bland.
  7. Ladle into serving bowls. Add bacon, fennel frond for decoration, serve with toasted crusty bread.

Can be made a day or two ahead of time, chilled, and reheated slowly in the same pot.

There’s a lot of flexibility in the ratio of ingredients. I think it’s silly to throw away extra vegetables just because it does not measure out to be exactly 3 cups per fennel bulb. Just use approximately 1:1:2 ratio of fennel:leeks:onion. And obviously more of whatever flavor you like!

Keep those stems. Great for roasting fish on (so that the bottom does not burn). The mild flavored fronds also make a great garnish (looks like dill!)

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