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Author Notes: The acquisition of a pressure cooker has changed my life. —Jennifer Ann
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large shallot, sliced
- 1/4 fennel bulb, slivered
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small bunch of fresh thyme, tied in a bundle with kitchen string
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups white beans, cooked
- 1/4 cup fennel bulb, diced
- 1-2 rinds of parmesan reggiano
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven; add onion, shallot, slivered fennel, salt and pepper, and cook until soft; add garlic, and bundle of thyme, and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant (about 1-2 minutes)
- add chicken stock, beans, diced fennel, and parmesan wedges; simmer for about 30 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally to lace the melting parmesan threads through the soup.
- turn off heat; remove bundle of thyme, and give it a good shake over the soup to release any loose leaves, then discard; remove parmesan rinds, and set aside.
- using an immersion blender, pulse the soup until about 1/2 of the beans are just barely pureed (be careful not to overblend, or your soup may become pasty)
- stir in cream, and return parmesan wedges to soup; ladle into bowls, and top with ground pepper and fresh thyme leaves