Phenomenal Onion Fennel Soup

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Pulled this out of my New England garden in late November.  Rather amazing it survived several weeks of hard frosts.

Pulled this out of my New England garden in late November. Rather amazing it survived several weeks of hard frosts.

Initiation – I picked up Barefoot Contessa’s “How Easy is That?” cookbook and wanted to try her Onion Fennel Gratin soup.   I modified it a bit based on my personal preferences- it came out GREAT!!!!!

Planning –  I got most of these ingredients at a small neighborhood grocery store – nothing too fancy in this soup.

4 16 oz cartons of organic beef broth.

2 small shallots, finely chopped

1/4 pound organic cultured butter (YES it makes a difference)

1 pound beef soup bones.

1 large spanish onion

1 large red onion.

2 small stalks fennel (I had these in the garden still)

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp pink Himalayan salt (sea salt would be fine)

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 cup grated gruyere cheese

1/2 inch thick sliced bread (anything will do – i prefer whole grain bread)

Execution –

Making the Stock –

For all my soups, I start the stock a day ahead of time and let it sit for about 24 hours in the fridge.  This helps the flavor develop AND the fat solidifies on the top making it easy to remove.    For my version, start with sauteing shallots in a couple tablespoons of butter, brown a pound of beef soup bones in the butter, and add 8 cups of organic beef broth.  Simmer about two hours.  Put it in the refrigerator over night.

Making the soup –

Melt about 1/2 stick of the cultured organic butter in a 4 to 5 quart dutch oven.   Slice the onions in half rounds in about 1/4 inch strips.  And slice the entire fennel stalk.  Add all to the dutch oven.  Cook about 45 minutes over low heat and covered until the onions and fennel are tender.   Put in the wine and let it boil to cook off the alcohol.  Add the salt and pepper.   Remove the fat and the bones from the broth and add to the onions and fennel.   Simmer for 30 minutes.

Serving the soup

Ladle the soup into soup bowls.  Toast a slice of the bread and then float it on top of the soup.   Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the gruyere cheese on top of the bread.   Put the soup bowl under the broiler for about 5 minutes to brown up the cheese.  Serve immediately.

Monitor and Control – Cook this on low temperature – it’s not a race to make this.   Use a good quality dutch oven.   I like the Le Cruset dutch ovens.

Close out – I understand that this soup freezes well.   I like doing this in the glass storage bowls so it can just go from freezer to the microwave for a single serving.

Comments are closed.