Florence Fennel is growing well in my Mudgee garden. Seeds which germinated in autumn are producing plump bulbs in spring.
A single plant produces several bulbs in succession.
I first planted fennel seeds in spring 2019, but it didn’t develop bulbs, and grew thick deep taproots which were useless and difficult to dig out.
At least it self-seeded readily, hence my current crop.
Fennel soup is really delicious and dead easy to make. A single large bulb makes a good quantity of soup, so one or two plants should satisfy all your fennel requirements.
Here’s the recipe.
Cream of fennel and potato soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 2 small or 1 large fennel bulbs (300gm), coarsely chopped, fronds reserved
- ½ large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
- 2 floury potatoes, peeled and diced
- 800 ml chicken stock
- 240 ml pouring cream, plus extra to serve
- 4 thick slices sourdough bread, toasted and buttered
Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add fennel, onion, garlic and fennel seeds and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to caramelise (4-6 minutes).
Add potato and stock, season to taste, cover and boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potato is tender (around 15 minutes).
Add cream, bring back to the boil and simmer until potato starts to break down (2-4 minutes). Season to taste and blitz in a blender until smooth, adding a little extra boiling water to thin it if necessary.
Serve hot topped with fennel fronds and cracked black peppercorns with buttered toast.
I used some of the delectable new potatoes from my late winter garden, in this soup.
The feathery fronds smell and taste delicious and can be used as a green herb and garnish in many dishes.