When we went to Turkey, we frequented the bar at the Kybele hotel in Istanbul. The bar tender was a laid back, super friendly guy who even let me make my own drinks at the bar! One night, I wanted to try Raki – an anise/fennel flavored Turkish liquor. I took one sip of it and spat it out. It was terribly strong and tasted awful. “Women don’t like the taste of anise” said the bar tender. I believed him; after all I don’t like liquorice and didn’t like Raki. But all that changed when I first had fennel soup. I loved the light onion flavor of fennel. Fennel is also wonderfully bright, citrusy and mild. I saw a very nice recipe for fennel soup on the eatingclub vancouver blog. I liked that the recipe used white wine. So that’s what Ive done in my recipe as well to concentrate the flavors of the fennel and leeks.
Fennel – 1 bulb
Leeks – 1 stalk
Heavy Cream – 1/2 cup
Wine – 1/2 cup
Water – 3/4 cup
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – about 1 1/4 tsp
Chop the fennel into rough pieces, don’t use the tough top green stalks. Reserve the fennel fronds for garnishing. Chop the leeks and clean them by soaking in cold water to remove the grit.
Heat a pot with olive oil. Add the fennel to the oil and saute for about 10 minutes. Then add the chopped leeks. Cook on medium another 3 minutes.
Add salt and pour in the wine. Increase the heat to high and let most the wine evaporate – about 2-3 minutes. Now pour in the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or till the fennel is soft. Cool the mixture and puree into a smooth soup in a blender. Return to heat, when the soup is hot, turn off heat, stir in the cream and some cracked pepper. Garnish soup with fennel fronds.