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Author Notes: 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
- 2 fennel bulbs, sliced (fronds reserved)
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 medium-sized onion, diced
- 3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock (chicken stock can also be used)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- to taste freshly ground black pepper
- to taste salt
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic, shallot, and onion for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the celery and fennel. Season generously with salt and pepper and continue to cook.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop your carrots. I prefer my carrots roughly chopped but you should chop your carrots whichever way you like them best.
- By the time you finish preparing the carrots, your fennel should be soft, unless, of course, you are a miraculously fast carrot-peeler-and-chopper. Add the carrots and cook for 3-5 minutes/
- Add the vegetables stock and simmer until the carrots are at your desired tenderness. I like my carrots to be cooked but still retain a slight bite to them--I suppose you could say, al dente carrots.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fennel