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

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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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I had a favourite umbrella too. I bought my bright sunny yellow umbrella in 1987 (!!) after I cashed my first paycheque from my first 'adult' job. It lasted through many jobs, and seasons until my 2 year old daughter got hold of it last month. I don't think it's mendable but I can't throw it out just yet.


Cool weather has finally made it to N. FL and this soup would be just ideal!

marvelous recipe, but please tell us that your favorite umbrella has found its way back to you. Patrons of Tartine are some of the best...

Jane P

If one wanted to add a protein to this soup, what would work?


Sorry to read about losing your umbrella. I myself get very attached to things that I have and when they are lost it really, really bothers me. I had a house fire and lost a lot of personal things and though I could replace them, I don't want to as they were special things and can't really be replaced exactly. I hope you find another favorite umbrella.

Janet in Maine

The perfect recipe for a chilly November day...I created a similar recipe this past weekend that I just loved and this is equally as beautiful and delicious! Thanks Heidi. Happy Holidays!!

hi heidi, i just ordered your book and being a SF gal myself, i almost feel like i know you. sorry to hear about your umbrella....maybe i can help. i live in bologna/italy and they just opened a new Muji store. I'll go take a look next time and if i see your umbrella, i'll send it to you, or bring it in feb when i visit SF again. no promises, but i'll give it my best shot..from one vegetarian cook to another. meanwhile, keep them great recipes coming! thank you.

n dong

My mom *just now* called me to see if I can think of a way for her to use the fennel bulb in her crisper - can't wait to make this soup. Thanks!!

I love fennel, but have never paired it with carrots before. This soup looks delicious, so I'll def have to try!

A nice soup that would loved to be fiddled with, no doubt. I see a little wilted kale dropping in for good measure.

This is what I should be eating. Note to self! Sounds delicious and healthy:)

Loved meeting you briefly at Foodbuzz, could I be more of a geek-fan? I was sitting here wondering if there was a healthy way to over-come the food over-load from this wonderful ThxGvg weekend and I saw your twitter. This soup is my answer, thx. The umbrella story would make a lovely storybook.

You take the most beautiful pictures of food. Even if I don't like certain ingredients your lush and deep photos make me WANT to eat whatever is pictured! Love your site: menus and pictures.


I know exactly what you mean about your umbrella. I had a ceramic coffee mug made by a local potter that was my favorite. It fit in hand perfectly and made everything I drank out of it just taste, well.. better. Water was cooler, coffee more satisfying, etc. I was in love with my cup. Until it broke. It came shattering down out of the dish rack one day and smattered into a million pieces. I know it's ridiculous to mourn the loss of my cup, but somehow I just can't help myself. I'm not the kind of person to normally get so attached to material objects, but something about that mug just felt like a part of me. I've tried other mugs since then but everyone has fallen short in some way or another, and I find myself longing for my cup even more.


This soup looks amazing. Yum!

I completely know how you feel - I once left a bag of all my favorite things on a train in Spain. It was such a sad feeling knowing I wasn't going to get those things back - i still think about it years later!

I'm so sorry about your umbrella! I too am very much of the mindset to have less, but more of things that I absolutely love. The cold (and maybe snow) is moving into my corner of Spain. I look forward to trying this soup, it will be so perfect, I'm sure. Thanks for the sharing! Katharine gastronomy and everyday life in Spain

I love how you always incorporate organic, or locally grown farmers market ingredients. I've always been a vegetarian for both ethical and environmental reasons, but i've never realised the impact of unsustainable fruits and vegetables that i mindlessly purchased from general grocery stores until i recently watched Food, Inc documentary..such an eye-opener..not just for meat eaters but also for vegetarians and vegans..


I love the flavor of fennel but I will admit it I have yet to try it in soup really. This recipe gives me an incentive and perfect for chilly weather soup for us. Thank you.

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