Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup

Restaurant puréed soups are creamy, smooth, velvety, and decadent. It's no secret that they aren't so healthy for you either. I wasn't completely sure "how" bad these dreamy restaurant soups were until I saw this recipe- where 1/3 of the liquid is heavy cream. Seriously? I'm going to guess that you end up with about a quart of cooked veggies and you add 2 quarts of stock and 1 quart of cream... Now, I'm sure this is delicious, but it is a bit concerning that the veggie:cream ratio is 1:1. 

Anyway, I made this soup with half the liquid to make each serving a bit heartier and only 1 cup (not quart) of heavy cream. I still found the soup to be smooth, creamy, and delicious but you'll have to try it and let me know what you think. Oh, and for those of you who are Sriracha fans- it's a great garnish for this soup. 

Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup

Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bulbs fresh fennel
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
7 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
8-10 (1 jar) roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
2 T dried thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
+/-1 cup water (to desired consistency)

Possible garnishes-
Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)
Grated pecorino romano
Fennel fronds

-Preheat oven to 350˚F. Core and quarter fennel. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place into a roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes, mixing/tossing occasionally.

-Heat additional olive oil in a soup pot. Add onions, celery, and leeks. Saute until tender, about 15 minutes. Add roasted fennel, red peppers, and thyme. Saute until hot.

-Add jalapenos, stock, water, and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 30 minutes. Using immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. If you use a normal blender, let the soup cool briefly before blending and return blended soup to soup pot to reheat.

-Season to taste and and serve.

Loosely adapted from Chef David Zakroczymski – Kil@wat Restaurant, Miwaukee

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