Hello friends! Go on and pull up a chair, I have just the thing for you today. This soup is super simple to make and is bursting with bold tomato and fennel flavors. It’s savory and smoky, with acidic tomatoes that are complemented by the aromatic yet mild licorice flavor of fennel.
If you have never used fresh fennel before in a recipe, no worries, this was also my first time cooking with fennel. I’ve always seen fennel in the grocery store, or in recipes, but was scared to try it because – let’s admit it folks – trying new things puts us out of our comfort zone. But I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was just like any other vegetable once I learned the proper way to cut it. It actually reminds me of celery but just requires a little more thought when dicing it.
If you would like to make this soup into a meal, I would suggest checking out this grilled havarti panini with prune jam and arugula. I don’t know about you but whenever I have a soup for dinner I need to pair it with carbs or my stomach will be grumbling with the next few hours.
Start out the recipe by dicing an onion.
Then dice a bulb of fresh fennel. Confession. I had to watch a Martha Stewart video to figure out how to cut a bulb of fennel properly. I always find the best way to learn is by watching someone else do it. In case you don’t feel like hunting down any how-to videos, I included the picture below to help demystify the whole process. Just cut the top off the fennel bulb, then slice it in half, cut out a wedge where the heart is, and slice and dice it like you would any other vegetable.
Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot and add the onion, garlic, fennel, red pepper, smoked paprika, salt, fennel seeds and oregano. Saute the vegetables until they start to soften.
After adding the fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, and sugar, bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer covered until everything is completely cooked through. Work in batches to transfer the soup to a blender and puree it until completely smooth. Remember to vent the lid and cover with a towel to prevent the blender from exploding all over your kitchen.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with thick toasted bread or a sandwich. I also garnished the soup with fennel fronds I reserved and small grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bulb fennel, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel, red pepper, smoked paprika, salt, fennel seeds, and oregano. Saute vegetables until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add fire roasted tomatoes, sugar, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes until all the vegetables are completely softened.
- Work in batches to puree the soup in a blender making sure to vent the top and cover with a towel to prevent the blender from spurting.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.