Fennel and potato are a great combination and make a lovely soup for a chilly night in.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 2 small or 1 large fennel bulbs (300gm), coarsely chopped, fronds reserved
- ½ large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 300 gm floury potatoes (about 2), such as sebago, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp Pernod (optional)
- 800 ml chicken stock
- 240 ml pouring cream, plus extra to serve
- 4 thick slices miche sourdough, toasted and buttered
- 1Heat 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.