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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Your Sunday Recipe

This delicious simple-to-make soup comes from the October Sunset Magazine, which describes it thusly: “A smooth, silky, understated first course – the Greta Garbo of soups.” I don’t know about just being a first course or about being Greta Garbo. With a salad and some wonderful hearty whole grain bread, it’s a meal, a soup that causes your tongue to say, “More, please.” And fennel’s one of those weird veggies you see in the market and say, “What the hell is THAT!” So it’s nice to find a lovely soup recipe that uses its wonderful weirdness. (Fennel's also known as sweet anise, but don't be alarmed. The slight licorice smell nearly disappears leaving an elusive flavor. As I said, one of those weird veggies, like parsnips. You can't describe the taste of parsnips without using the word "parsnip," as in, "It tastes . . . parsnippy." Fennel's the same way. It's . . . fenneley. . " )

I made it both with and without the watercress, and I think I prefer without. It’s such a subtle, soft soup I think the watercress is a bit too loud, but try it both ways and see for yourself. The garnish of crumbled blue cheese is a perfect flavor note. Both our local Ralphs and Vons had fennel but no watercress, but New Frontiers has such fresh lovely fat fennel bulbs and they carry watercress regularly. Enjoy.

Fennel apple bisque

1 ½ lb. fennel bulbs (about two large bulbs or 3 medium)
2 large Fuji apples
1 large onion
1 c watercress (if wished)
1 box (4 cups++) low sodium chicken stock (or veggie stock)


spices to try: pinches of white pepper, powdered ginger (if you don’t use the watercress, adds a bit of bite, or use fresh grated), curry powder, garm masala, poultry seasoning (the poultry seasoning was particularly apt for some reason), sage. Sniff and experiment. The soup is so subtle, you'll need to use an easy hand so as to not overwhelm the fennelness of it all.

Trim root end and stalks from fennel. Chop. Peel, core and chop apples and onion.
Saute onion in butter/olive oil until softened. (5 minutes) Add four cups chicken broth, fennel, apple and bring to a boil. Simmer until fennel is soft, 15 – 20 minutes. If you’re using watercress, stir in 1 c.and cook until wilted.

Puree with immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender. Season with whatever spices are called for. Garnish with crumbled blue cheese.

Yum.

9 comments:

Watershed Mark said...

Recipe for unlimited tyranny:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -C.S. Lewis

If only more would eat crow...

Sewertoons said...

Leave it to wsm to politicize Ann's recipe posting. Great job wsm, be a clodhopper and stomp a lovely Sunday posting. You should apologize to Ann.

Ann, this sounds like a great recipe! Thank you! Have you tried other types of apples yet? I wonder how a different apple flavor would tweak it? How about a shallot instead of an onion? Funny how sometimes the recipes with a few excellent ingredients trump the recipes with hoards of ingredients.

alabamasue said...

Oh dear 'toons. You should be kinder to the unemployed, gay-hating, "birther". I see his inappropriate postings as a kind of keyboard Tourette's Sydrome. Maybe we can organize a telethon for mark's affliction?

Sewertoons said...

HILARIOUS! Thanks alabamasue - maybe we CAN help mark (AND the rest of us) and find a cure for this dreaded affliction!!

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

This soup is well worth making. Its taste and texture are elegant. The bleu cheese is essential in providing coherence to the flavors. Without it the soup is quite a different experience.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

I don't think that you should use Lewis quotes to back up your point of view.

Either you are a Christian (folks who would typically feel comfortable with Lewis) or you are not. If a believer, you should try to make sense of the whole of Lewis writings and not just cherry pick a single quote to back up your politics. If not a believer, you've opened up a whole can of worms by citing someone who based his every thought on the Gospel.

On Lewis ... most Evangelicals today would feel very uncomfortable with how "liberal" Lewis is compared to some of the beliefs which are now held up as orthodox by folks who are now confusing Republican, Capitalism and Christianity.

Churadogs said...

Mark sez:"“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -C.S. Lewis"

Irony: Doesn't this sound like what the Repulican Party/ Conservatives have become? Demanding control over women's wombs, barging into Terry Schaivo's hospital room, pushing to have prayer (theirs) in the schools, & etc. ?

Toonces sez:Ann, this sounds like a great recipe! Thank you! Have you tried other types of apples yet? I wonder how a different apple flavor would tweak it? How about a shallot instead of an onion? Funny how sometimes the recipes with a few excellent ingredients trump the recipes with hoards of ingredients."

I think they suggested Fuji apples for the sweetness. Granny Smith's would be too tart, in the same way the watercress, to me, was too much. (Bev used the word "sour," as in "watercress is sour," and I'd agree. And since this soup is so soft and delicate, I thought the sour/sharp cress was too much. As for shallots, by all means, try them. Leeks would be worth considering, too. And play with the seasoning. This is such an easy soup but so complex a flavor you can really experiment without overwhelming its subtlety. Also, as Bev notes here, be sure to add the blue cheese. There's something amazing in the combination of that funky cheese and the soft sweetness of the soup. A friend had given me some whole grain flatbread covered in various poppy/sesame seeds and it was the perfect "cracker" to use as well.

Sewertoons said...

You just caused us to subscribe to Sunset magazine!

Churadogs said...

Toonces. Eeery month, there's at least one recipe in there that's worth the price of subscription. Not to mention great ideas on landscaping/plants, decorating & etc. I tried another soup recipe in that same issue (I'll post soon) that's also easy and wonderful. A full meal in a bowl. Yum.