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Tomato Soup with Fennel, Leek & Potato


Serves four to six.

Yields 5-1/2 cups.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 91

Loaded with fennel and potatoes, this hearty tomato soup is perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich, but a fresh spinach salad would make the meal too. For an elegant twist, try puréeing the soup (see tip below). The Pernod is optional, but we highly recommend including it because it enhances and deepens the fennel flavor beautifully.

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed, coarsely crushed or ground in a spice grinder
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into small dice (about 2 cups; save some fronds for optional garnish)
  • 1 large leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. Pernod (optional)
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (reserve the juice)
  • 1 medium red or yellow potato, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
This soup can be puréed in the blender for a velvety version of the original. Be sure to work in small batches and crack the blender lid slightly (or remove the center cap from the lid). Steam can build up once you start blending, and if the lid is on tight or the blender is overfilled, it will spray hot soup all over you and your kitchen. For protection, cover the top with a dishtowel while puréeing.

In a nonreactive 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the fennel seed and cook until fragrant and lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the fennel bulb, leek, and Pernod (if using) and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and potato. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chunky or purée in a blender. If you purée the soup and it is too thick, add some of the reserved tomato juice. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds, if desired.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings, Calories (kcal): 150, Fat (kcal): 8, Fat Calories (g): 70, Saturated Fat (g): 1, Protein (g): 5, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5, Carbohydrates (mg): 15, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 0.9, Sodium (g): 230, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 3,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Loved it!!

Really liked this soup for a change of pace. I pureed the soup and added extra Pernod. I thought it needed a bit more. I think the suggestions to add more Pernod is spot on.

Outstanding soup in the puréed form! I think puréeing it pulls all the flavors together. I also added an extra generous splash of Pernod stirred in at the end as suggested by another reviewer. That really was the clincher. This is an elegant soup with a unique flavor profile.

The fist time I made this soup it was good but needed something to be able to make it a meal. Second time I seasoned ground turkey with ground fennel, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Sauted it in the soup pot. Removed it to a bowl,drained the fat and continued with the recipe. I added the turkey to the soup for the last 10 minutes; and coupled with a salad it made a wonderful one pot meal.

I used fire-roasted canned tomatoes to enhanced the flavor and a stick blender to make it smooth. This will be a staple all year long

After making the Classic Tomato Soup (which was excellent btw), I was a little disappointed in this recipe. It was good but it just didn't seem to have the rich tomato flavor of the Classic recipe. And although I like fennel and leeks, I just didn't care for the flavor combination in this soup. I don't think I would make this again.

I have already made this soup twice within a week of receiving the magazine!! The Pernod is a MUST. I also added an extra tablespoon after running the soup through the blender, and served with sour cream. I used Parmalat brand diced tomatoes. The first day it is good...the second day you will be eating every drop and looking for more. Not your ordinary tomato soup - the flavors explode!

It was a cold day here in Toronto and this soup did a superb job of warming me up. Simple and delicious in 45 minutes from start to finish. I followed this recipe exactly, except for adding a few extra fennel seeds (whole). I would absolutely make this again!

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