As those who have been following this blog for a while will know, I absolutely ADORE soups. I’m happy to eat them all year round for breakfast (yes, in Vietnam you eat pho – which is their version of a soup/broth – for breakfast), lunch or supper. I am always trying to think of new pairings that might work well and since I had some fennel in my fridge that needed to be eaten I thought I would use that as the star ingredient and built up a few other ingredients around them.
I always have preserved lemons in my fridge so I decided to use them along with a leek. My other go to ingredient, which completely elevates dishes and which I do go on about a lot on my instatories, is my garlic confit. Seriously it takes very little effort to make a batch, stores in the fridge for ages, and really adds huge flavour to a host of dishes. In fact, it would make a great Christmas gift for any foodie friends or family. It shows thought and I bet the receiver would love you forever (although I am sure they already do ;o) anyway I digress.
The other ingredients are vegetable stock – I literally just used a stock cube, water, pepper and salt. I decided to top each soup with a parmesan crips and some of the fennel fronds to add a bit of umami to the dish (coming from the parmesan). If you are on instagram go to my stories and you can watch me cooking the dish on my instastories.
I think this soup would be a good one over the Christmas season if you are cooking for large groups. We always have a starter at each meal when the whole family gets together, so I will be definitely adding this one to my repertoire over Christmas.
Fennel and Preserved Lemon Soup
3 tbsp garlic confit including around 5 garlic cloves from the confit
2 fennel, finely chopped (fronds removed and placed to one side)
1 leek, finely sliced
1-2 preserved lemons, finely chopped
1.2 litres water
1 vegetable stock cube
salt and pepper
will make 6
50g parmesan, finely grated
freshly ground black pepper
- Finely cut the fennel, removing the fronds and placing them to one side – you can use these later when serving the soup.
- Finely cut the leeks.
- Heat a large deep pan an add the garlic confit – oil and a few of the garlic cloves. This is what will really give the soup flavour and depth. Move around the pan and then add the fennel, leeks and a little salt and allow them to sweat and soften for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the preserved lemon. Add one to begin with, you can easily add one more later if you want it more lemony.
- Add the vegetable stock and boiling water and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Using a hand blender, blend the soup so that it is completely smooth. You many need to add more water if you want it less thick in consistency. Taste test and then add a little more salt and freshly ground pepper. Also check on how lemony the soup is. If you would like it more so, add one more preserved lemon. It’s really down to personal preference so taste test and see what you think. Personally I like to add two.
- To make the parmesan crisps, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Finely grate the parmesan and then place them in round piles and flatten to approx 2 inches in diameter on the greaseproof paper. Space them out as they will spread slightly. Add a little freshly ground black pepper on top.
- Heat in the oven for 6-8 minutes, so that they begin to lightly bronze, then remove and allow to cool.
- When serving the soup place a couple of ladles in each bowl and then add a parmesan crisp, some fennel fronds and sound freshly ground pepper.
Delicious. I hope you agree.