I've always been intrigued by the early modern European use of restorative and medicinal soups, which I explored for my senior work at Bennington College. The whole idea behind soups and broths as medicine was that they would allow solid foods to be boiled down and the patient would then be able to consume the nutrients in an easily digestible, liquid form without further taxing their bodies with the act of having to digest solid foods. In addition to an historical investigative thesis into the topic, I also attempted to adapt and create my own "restorative" soups. This was one of my favorites--I love the way the anise-flavored fennel complements the earthiness of the character.
The recipe is really versatile and allows a lot of room for substitutions. If vegetable stock is used, this can be completely vegan, or you can add bit of shredded chicken to make more of a hearty meal. —Amelia Vottero
fennel bulbs, sliced (fronds reserved)
carrots, peeled and chopped
medium-sized onion, diced
cloves of garlic, minced
stalks of celery, chopped
vegetable stock (chicken stock can also be used)