October 14, 2015

Tomato & Fennel Soup

Tomato and Fennel Soup

Fall is the start of soup season in our house. Out goes gazpacho and in comes cozy smooth soups full of texture in flavor. This is the season I also find myself ordering soup when I am at restaurants in lieu of a starter salad. I love how it warms me up and prepares my palate for an exciting meal.

A recent decrease in temperature motivated me to make my first soup of the season. The recipe was inspired by a cup of San Marzano tomato soup I enjoyed at Bouchon Bakery when we were in Napa last spring. The flavors were bright and clear with lots of sweet tomato and a hint of basil. Since I had some fennel on hand I also decided to add it to the recipe to give it a woodsy undertone. I opted out of the grilled cheese croutons, but they would be delicious if you wanted to add them for crunch! The resulting soup was a fantastic treat we were pleased to slurp down on a cool fall day. I even added meatballs to it the next day for a simple lunch.

Making this meal got me so excited for soup season. It also got me thinking of recipes I want to recreate from other favorite restaurants I’ve tried. I keep a log of them in a journal and always write a great review on TripAdvisor when I enjoy a meal. In fact, when we travel anywhere these days I like to check out TripAdvisor to make reservations, check out reviews from fellow travelers, and to a sneak peak at hot spots around the globe. Sometimes my wanderlust gets the better of me and I’ll surf around their site checking out places I want to visit someday, making mental notes of restaurants to try. Do you do the same? If so, post some of your favorite travel meals on social media with the hashtag #TraveltoTaste so we can compare notes!

I hope you all enjoy your start to soup season and stay inspired by what you eat!

Roasted Tomato & Fennel Soup

Rating: 51

Yield: 8 cups

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Ingredients

  • ½ fennel bulb
  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • ΒΌ cup white wine
  • 2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes with juice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the fennel bulb thinly and toss with olive oil. Place the pieces on a lined baking sheet. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until just starting to brown around the edges.
  2. While the fennel is roasting, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.
  3. Carefully pour in white wine and allow it to simmer until almost completely evaporated. Pour in the cans of tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth and basil. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a boil for 1 minute. Then, reduce heat and allow to simmer until the fennel is finished roasting. Add the fennel carefully to the pot.
  4. Working carefully, puree soup with a hand blender until completely smooth. Or, scoop it into a blender and puree until smooth. When all of the soup is completed return it to the pot and bring it to a simmer to warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
  5. Allow soup to simmer for a few minutes, then stir in the sugar and vinegar. Stir in spinach and allow to wilt. Serve hot with a garnish of cheese.
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