Fennel and potato are a great combination and make a lovely soup
for a chilly night in.
1 tbspolive oil20 gmbutter, coarsely chopped2small or 1 large fennel bulbs (300gm), coarsely chopped, fronds reserved½large onion, coarsely chopped2garlic cloves, thinly sliced1 tspfennel seeds, coarsely crushed300 gmfloury potatoes (about 2), such as sebago, peeled and diced1 tbspPernod (optional)800 mlchicken stock240 mlpouring cream, plus extra to serve4thick slices miche sourdough, toasted and buttered
Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add fennel, onion, garlic and fennel seeds and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to caramelise (4-6 minutes). Add potato and deglaze pan with Pernod or water. Add stock, season to taste, cover and bring to the boil, then boil uncovered and stirring occasionally until potato is tender (around 15 minutes). Add cream, bring back to the boil and simmer until potato starts to break down (2-4 minutes). Season to taste and blitz in a blender, or with a hand-held blender, until smooth, adding a little extra boiling water to thin it a little if necessary. Serve hot topped with fennel fronds, extra cream and a crack of black peppercorns with buttered toast on the side.