Make Ahead

Apple and Fennel Soup

August 30, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is an Indian summer soup, a soup for the liminal season. Tart, crisp apples like Honeycrisp, Gravenstein, or Granny Smith are paramount. Equally good hot or cold, it's a smooth mélange of tart, crisp apples; celery stalks, leaves and all; anise-scented fennel, and all of it finished with a bunch of watercress, a fistful of fresh herbs, and a glug of heavy cream. It's all at once fresh and earthy, bright and comforting: the perfect soup for the transition from summer to fall. —Beth Kirby | {local milk}

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large bulb fennel, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 large or 3 small tart, crisp apples such as Honeycrisp, Gravenstein, or Granny Smith, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced in 1/2-inch pieces, leaves and all
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup watercress
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in an 8-quart saucepan.
  2. Add shallot and garlic and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Add fennel, apple, celery, lemon, honey (or sugar), salt, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until everything is very tender and cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat and toss in the greens and herbs. Purée the soup in two batches. At this point you can either simply return it to the pot or pass it through a mesh sieve for a more refined texture. I prefer the sieve, but it's up to you.
  6. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve garnished with chopped mint, fennel, and thyme.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Swiss Meringue
    Swiss Meringue
  • Charity
  • Margie
  • MariahK
  • Beth Kirby | {local milk}
    Beth Kirby | {local milk}
A Southern writer with a cast iron skillet & a camera. Freelance food writer & photographer. Blogs at

8 Reviews

Swiss M. March 15, 2014
I was not so keen on this soup - the apple and mint flavors overpower the fennel. Also, chicken stock is probably not the best choice, I'd use vegetable next time. The nice thing about it was that it's as good chilled as hot. Could be a good summer chilled soup with a few tweaks - maybe less apple and sub in some cucumber instead so that the fennel flavor can come through.
Alix October 30, 2013
I just made this soup today and it was amazing! I left it chunky and it tasted just like stuffing. Thanks so much for the recipe!
Charity October 7, 2013
Do you peel the apples or leave the skins on?
Beth K. October 7, 2013
Because I strain it, I leave the skin on. If you plan to leave it chunky, I would peel them.
Charity October 7, 2013
Thanks! Going to try this tonight.
Margie September 10, 2013
I loved this! I left it unstrained and did not use any cream and it was wonderful. Wouldn't change anything I rave reviews!
Taylor April 25, 2019
Did you use more broth instead of cream or did you leave the cream entirely?
MariahK September 9, 2013
I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! My new favorite soup! I couldn't find watercress so I used arugula but otherwise made as directed...I wouldn't change a thing. I strained one ladle full and although the texture was better I opted to keep the fiber and leave it un-strained. Wonderful recipe!