Roasted-Potato Fennel Soup

I’ve been in a soup mood lately, and I had some leftover potatoes from my parents’ visit that I had no idea what to do with (I don’t each much potato), and so…potato soup it was. It was also a cold, dreary day, which made this recipe from Barefoot Contessa sound very homey and warm and delicious.

And it was! The soup came out creamy and thick, with a ton of great potato flavor. You keep the skins on the potatoes (makes it super easy), and get such a nice earthy taste from it. And the roasting does good things for the flavor, opposed to the old boiling route. Note: this is NOT your typical cheesy potato soup that doesn’t even taste like potato. And I think that’s a good thing…even though I’ve never seen a cheese I didn’t like. It really tastes like potato soup — and while it’s filling and creamy, you don’t feel like you ate a block of cheese afterward. Which is always nice.

I love fennel, and in this recipe, it gives the soup a nice flavor undertone — not licorice-y at all, just a good contrast. I’d serve this by the cup (opposed to by the bowl) since it is pretty rich. It’d be perfect with a nice salad or alongside half a sandwich for lunch.

TW’s Tips

  • I halved this recipe, and it was still a LOT of soup. I froze two quart-size bags of it because there was no way I was eating potato soup for two weeks.
  • If you’ve never cut up fennel before, make sure you quarter the bulb and cut out the tough core in the middle.
  • To make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken.
  • Instead of pureeing in a food processor, I used my immersion blender and pureed it right in the pot. Brilliant!
  • I topped the bowls with some chopped fennel fronds.
Enjoy!

Ingredients (I halved the recipe)

  • 4 lbs red potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 4 cups yellow onions, about 2
  • 4 cups fennel bulbs, about 2
  • 3 quarts chicken stock or 3 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through.

Saute the chopped onions and chopped fennel with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the roasted potatoes (including scrapings from the pan) and the stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until all the vegetables are very soft. Add the heavy cream and allow the soup to cool slightly.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or food mill, leaving some chunks. Taste for salt and pepper. Reheat and serve hot.

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