Peppery, hearty, warm and rustic, this Roasted Potato and Fennel soup is the perfect foil to January’s cold, dreary weekends. Double the recipe, freeze the leftovers and you’ll have enough hot soup to get you through these last brutal winter months. This recipe is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s. I’ve changed a few small things and the recipe below reflects that. Gartner’s original can be found in her first book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It takes about two hours from potato scrubbing to soup’s on.
Serves 5-6, makes approximately 6 1/2 cups soup.
2 lbs russet baking potatoes, cut in 2” pieces leaving peel on.
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 medium chopped yellow onions
1 lb (1 large bulb) Chopped fennel bulb
1 1/2 Quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and minced garlic with 2 Tablespoons olive, 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until well roasted and brown.
Saute the onions and fennel with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven or stockpot on medium heat until translucent and some of the onions and fennel begin to caramelize, approximately 15 minutes. Add the roasted potatoes (including the scrapings from the roasting pan) and the chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until all the vegetables are very soft.
Add 1/2 of heavy cream and turn off heat*, allowing soup to cool slightly. Chop coarsely in batches in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Taste for salt and pepper. Reheat and serve hot.
This soup is delicious on it’s own but a few roasted potato “croutons” are a nice garnish. Just add an extra cut potato or two to your roasting pan.
Cream and the Freezer
This soup can be frozen but the cream may separate. To reincorporate the cream whisk soup well during reheating. If you’d prefer to freeze sans cream simply add a splash of cream to the soup, or each serving, after reheating.
Food Mill, Stick Blender or Food Processor?
One of the things I like about this soup is the chunky, rustic texture achieved by leaving the peels on the potatoes and not over blending. I’ve found that a food processor is the messiest but the best option for blending this soup. It’s the only tool that fulling chops and incorporates the potato skins.
A food mill is a bit better — some potato skins will still separate and may cover the blade so you’ll have to occasionally clean the peels from the blade.
Don’t even think about using a stick blender. It will chop the potato flesh but separates the potato skins, leaving them in long strips in the soup (not appetizing).