Carrot and Fennel Soup

Carrot and Fennel Soup Recipe

Before I share the recipe for the soup I enjoyed for lunch today, I feel compelled to tell you something about myself. Here goes. I'm the sort of person who owns one umbrella. One umbrella I really like, instead of four umbrellas I sort-of like. It's a tendency that carries over into other areas of my life (books and magazines aside) and it works out nicely because our apartment isn't particularly large. But it's raining today, and I'm sitting here next to the window, lovely bowl of soup in front of me, thinking about my favorite umbrella. Midnight blue adorned with tiny, pin-point white dots, it has scalloped edges and folds down to a size that can usually be accommodated by my bag. It braves a strong wind with confidence, and guides rivulets of water out past my shoulders before letting them drop - keeping me dry in the process. I bought it at a Muji store in Tokyo, and thoroughly enjoyed having it as my rainy day partner. It went with me to France. It went with me to Spain. And then, a few months back, it went with me to Tartine - the sun broke through, we sat outside, visited with a few friends, had a few treats, and when I walked away from the table I must have left it hooked to the back of my chair. My hope is that someone found it, took it home, and now likes it as much as I did. I think about it on days like today, I somehow can't help it. I've tried three umbrellas since I lost the Muji, and quite frankly, rainy days aren't quite the same.

Carrot Fennel Soup Recipe

The soup? I riffed on a recipe from The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I often crave clean, simple meals in between all the holiday decadence, and there was a carrot & fennel soup in Amanda's book that sounded just right. It's simple, brothy, and the perfect way to use up a bunch of bushy-topped farmers' market carrots. I added wild rice, but you could use another grain if you like. Or omit he wild rice altogether - it isn't in the original recipe. I also had a vibrant blood orange olive oil on hand, so I used that to add a citrusy accent to this soup, you can certainly use fresh orange juice instead. And, as I mention below, you can top with a poached egg and have a one-dish meal on your hands. I hope all of you here in the U.S. enjoyed the long weekend and were able to spend it with lots of friends and family around. -h

Carrot and Fennel Soup

Like I mention up above - it's easy to make a meal of this by serving it topped with a poached egg. Alternately, you can make this soup vegan by omitting the Parmesan.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed fronds reserved, thinly sliced

2 1/4 pounds / 36 ounces farmer market carrots, thickly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
salt to taste
3 cups / 12 oz cooked wild rice

2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil or 5 tablespoons fresh orange juice

lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in your largest soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened a bit. Stir in the carrots and cook another 10 minutes, just long enough for them to soften a touch and start taking on a bit of color. Stir in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Stir in the broth. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, until the carrots are very tender, another 15-20 minutes or so. Stir in the wild rice, bring back to a simmer, taste and add more salt if needed

Remove from heat and stir in the blood orange olive oil or orange juice. Taste and add more if needed. Serve dusted, generously, with freshly grated Parmesan, and a sprinkling of the reserved fennel fronds.

Serves about 6.

Inspired by the Carrot & Fennel Soup in The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

  • Heidi, an old guru offered me an identical umbrella in Darjeeling. Perhaps it's traveling itself. Couldn't agree with Dean's comments more, on both accounts!

    Linsey
  • It seems that the destiny of most umbrella's are to be left quietly hanging on the corner of a chair or slouched between the wall and table of a restaurant, lost but ready to start a new destiny with a new owner. The soup certainly has an appeal. Despite not having spent a weekend eating and celebrating Thanksgiving I completely appreciate the idea of a clean, simple and hearty meal like this beautiful soup.

    Val
  • Thank you for providing an excuse to buy blood orange olive oil. :-) Compliments on your knife skills. Those carrots are beautiful.

    Dean E.
  • Just the bright colour of carrots is enough to lift winter-blues. I managed to get some wonderfully natural-looking carrots this week (knobbly and non-identical in shape and size). They went into a chicken casserole along with a lovely cabbage. Yum!

    MerryMakes
  • This soup sounds absolutely delicious! I can't wait to try it!

    Emily
  • what a delicious, simple soup! after a long holiday weekend of eating heavy meals and desserts, this soup sounds perfect!

    the blissful baker
  • You mention "good-tasting" vegetable broth in the recipe (which looks delicious, by the way!) -- do you have any favorite brands of store-bought? I'm in the Bay Area as well so local is fine! Thanks in advance!

    Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks
  • I really loved your umbrella story. I can definitely see getting attached to such a lovely thing. I have too many unmemorable umbrellas lying around but you've inspired me to get one I actually love. I hope you find a replacement soon! In the mean time this soup is probably a good replacement. I'm on a HUGE carrot kick and love fennel. :)

    Ashley
  • Looks like the perfect soup for all of the cold and rainy weather we've been having in the Bay Area lately!

    sally
  • i don't really love fennel, but i will say there's something about the combination of carrots and fennel that makes it taste OK...perfectly sweet and the earthiness of the carrots takes down the anise flavor in the fennel just enough for me to really enjoy it :)

    Heather (Heather's Dish)
  • You've made me feel so nostalgic with this post for two reasons, the former much more poignant than the latter. First, my grandmother used to make a soup of carrot and fennel and it was a favourite of mine growing up. I've never tried to re-create it myself but might bring myself to brave the tears this week. Second, one of the first purchases that I made for myself when I moved away from home for the first time was a polka dot umbrella. It accompanied me for years (I even had it in my backpack on the night I met my husband). And then one day I used it to prop up a wobbly table on the patio of a pub in Toronto. The table was then no longer wobbly and thus forgettable, as was the umbrella. Today I remember it and all the times it was there, waiting for me in my back pack, to save my hair from a good drenching. Thanks for a great post!

    Christine @ SeminoleSalivation
  • I love beautifully simple soups like this. The blood orange olive oil seems like the perfect touch. I will have to substitute parsnips or something similar for the carrots - cooked carrots are not my favorite.

    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
  • I like fennel and ate it many times, but never in the soup. I will try for sure. Incidentally, I am planning to post shortly a recipe for a two- ingredient leek soup, as an easy after-holiday idea.

    Bogna @ Pots and Frills
  • I have my first final of grad school tomorrow. In celebration, I will be making this soup both in praise of being done and to drown my sorrows in tasty wild rice and fennel.

    Kate
  • Mmm! I'm always looking for ways to use fennel, and this soup just sounds delicious! Beautiful photos, too!

    Anonymous
  • When I was living in Italy I lost my favorite umbrella too, I left it in my seat on a train. Then umbrellas became like a vice for me, I would buy replacements only to accidently forget them at odd places. I eventually started not minding getting all wet, walking in the rain without an umbrella. The soup looks delicious, I can't wait to make some myself. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
  • Soup sounds delicious. I have had a lot of fennel and carrots in my fridge as of late- so this is perfect. I hear you about the umbrella, I too live in a very rainy part of the world and have a favourite umbrella. Sometimes I don't take it for fear that someone will take it if I leave it in the umbrella stand at the grocery store. I hope you find another rain-buddy soon. That one looked particularly cute.

    The Bounty Hunter
  • What a splendid combination of two wonderful veggies. The addition of the citrus olive oil sounds like it just added that something special to the soup. Stunning photo too.

    Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet}
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