Fast Recipes

Fennel and leek soup with four spice

Serve this simple soup just with bread or toast or add a seafood element by placing thinly sliced sashimi-grade scallops or fish in the serving bowls before ladling in the hot soup.

By Max Adey
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
Fennel and leek soup with four spice

Serve this simple soup just with bread or toast or add a seafood element by placing thinly sliced sashimi-grade scallops or fish in the serving bowls before ladling in the hot soup - it should be just the right temperature to slightly cook the seafood.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 gm butter, diced
  • 1 large leek (white part only), halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 star anise
  • 800 gm fennel (about 3 large bulbs), coarsely chopped, fronds reserved, stalks thinly sliced to serve
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 litre chicken stock (4 cups)
  • 300 gm crème fraîche
  • Sourdough toast, to serve
Four spice
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns

Method

  • 1
    Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over high heat, add leek, garlic and star anise and sauté until leek and garlic start to caramelise (3-5 minutes). Add fennel, thyme and bay leaf, and stir until fennel softens slightly (2-3 minutes). Add stock, season to taste, cover and bring to the boil, then remove lid and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until fennel is tender (10-12 minutes). Discard herbs and star anise, add crème fraîche, season to taste and blend with a hand-held blender until smooth.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for four spice, grind spices with a mortar and pestle.
  • 3
    Scatter soup with fennel stalks and fronds, season to taste with four spice and serve with sourdough toast.
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  • Author: Max Adey