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Chilled Fennel and Cucumber Soup

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 6 cups

Servings: 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Cucumbers make this soup refreshing, and fennel gives it a full flavor. A touch of cream adds richness, while fresh tarragon contributes lovely herbal notes.
Read the article “Chill Out” for tips on giving your soup great flavor and smooth texture.


  • 3 lb. fennel bulbs (about 2 large or 3 medium, including stalks)
  • 1-1/4 lb. seedless cucumbers (about 2 medium)
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon; more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 150
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 40
  • Sodium (mg): 500
  • Carbohydrates (g): 11
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 2


  • Trim, quarter, core, and cut enough of the fennel bulbs into 1-inch pieces to yield about 6 cups. Reserve some of the fronds for garnish.
  • In a 6- to 8-quart pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about 1/2 inch of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Steam the fennel, covered, until very tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel the cucumbers, quarter lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch chunks to yield about 4 cups.
  • In a blender, purée half of the cucumber, half of the fennel, 1/2 tsp. of the tarragon, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Set a medium-mesh strainer over a large bowl and force the purée through it with a silicone spatula. Repeat with the remaining cucumber and fennel, 1/2 tsp. tarragon, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  • Whisk in the cream and the remaining 1 Tbs. tarragon. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours.
  • Just before serving, season the soup to taste with additional tarragon, salt, and pepper. Serve garnished with the reserved fennel fronds.

Make Ahead Tips

The finished soup can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days. Adjust the seasoning and garnish just before serving.



Rate or Review

Reviews (1 review)

  • ellen3409 | 06/15/2014

    This soup is thick and tasteless. I followed the recipe exactly but found it so unappetizing that I was unable to finish my serving and tossed the remainder. The texture is like baby food and only a faint taste of tarragon comes through. A cup of cream is just too heavy for a chilled soup like this. It coats the palate and the spoon. I will not make this again and do not recommend it at all.

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