Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup

When I opened the door this morning, I noticed the damp and chilly weather, but couldn't help but think that it feels like spring, instead of the dead-center of January! I, like many, will choose to enjoy this mild weather while it lasts. The weather report is calling for some snow this afternoon, so we know a warm-front isn't on the way. What better meal to serve tonight than a comforting bowl of tomato soup?

One of my favorite recipes for tomato soup includes roasted fennel, which gives the soup a warm and rustic flavor. The caramelized tomatoes and fennel add a bit of sweetness and depth, bringing out the natural sugars of both of these ingredients. What I like most about this soup is that it has a flavor unlike any other tomato soup recipe I've tried. Many times, I avoid ordering tomato soup because it tastes like marinara sauce, but without the pasta. If you prefer tomato soup to taste like tomato soup, rather than spaghetti sauce, this is the perfect recipe for you!

Roasted Tomato & Fennel Soup

2 pints grape tomatoes, washed
1 head of fennel, fronds removed
3 small shallots, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
As needed, pure olive oil or canola oil
1/4 cup dry white wine

3 - 4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)
As needed, Matt's Mix or salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the fennel in half, lengthwise, then julienne each half. Toss the fennel and grape tomatoes in some oil (just enough to coat) and place them on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Matt's Mix or salt & pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots and garlic in a medium-large soup pot over high heat, until browned in a small amount of oil (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan to keep the shallots and garlic from sticking and burning). Turn the heat down and carefully add in the wine. Allow it to evaporate, and then turn the heat off. Set aside to cool.

When the tomatoes and fennel are nicely caramelized, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. In a food processor, blend the garlic, shallots, fennel and tomatoes until smooth. Add a small amount of chicken broth and process again. Take this mixture and place it back into the soup pot you used to saute the shallots. Add the rest of the chicken broth. Heat through. Add the cream, if using and adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. Serve with crusty bread or croutons. Enjoy!

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