Caramelized Fennel and White Bean Soup

Caramelized Fennel and White Bean Soup

I’ve always been hesitant to cook with dried beans. Although I fully comprehend the appeal of “the real thing” over something out of a can, I was uncomfortable with the amount of planning it required. Even one night seemed like an excessive commitment. Part of growing up for me (even if it’s a little bit) has been linked to a greater appreciation of ingredients and taking time in the kitchen. This soup is hearty and satisfying and was my first foray into fennel.

Fennel is crisp, sweet and has a distinct and remarkable licorice flavour. Caramelized it intensifies its sweetness and softens its flavour. It really added a wonderful aromatic quality that put this soup over the top.  

Ingredients:
1 cup dried white beans
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
bay leaves
fresh thyme

1 bulb fennel
1/2 large onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 small zucchini
3 cloves garlic
a couple sprigs of thyme
vegetable stock

PART UN

Rinse and soak one cup of dried white beans in four cups of water. The beans will soften overnight and be ready to cook the following day. Top up the pot with water and add one roughly chopped carrot, one stalk of celery, a couple bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer until tender. This took me at least an hour. Skim the foam, remove the herbs and vegetables and set aside.

 

 

PART DEUX

In a heavy bottom soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Clean and quarter fennel bulb. Remove core, slice into fine strips and add to the pot. Dice half an onion and add. Season and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel and onion become brown. Add diced carrot, celery and zucchini and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add minced garlic and a few sprigs of thyme and cook another minute. The smell was amazing and at this point I added the white beans, stirring and cooking for another minute before adding enough stock to cover well. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until beans are soft.  This recipe is vegetarian friendly but I couldn’t resist adding a sausage.

3 Comments

  1. david says:

    I hate actual licorice, but Fennel with Sausage is always Yummy!

  2. Troy says:

    me too! It seems like fennel is in just about every foodtv salad these days. I prefer it cooked I think… and I fucking LOVE sausage!

  3. tamara says:

    Mmm..looks delicious and perfect for a snowed-in day.

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