I once tasted a tomato-fennel soup at a restaurant, but it was more like watery tomato sauce; better suited to baked pasta, rather than served as soup. Also, where was the fennel? Apparently it was there in name only.
This soup does not have that problem. It is definitely tomato soup, but not like the kind you’d see in a thick ceramic bowl alongside a gooey grilled cheese sandwich in an ad for canned soup. Tomato is blended with roasted fennel and bell pepper, so it is more flavourful and rich than a regular tomato soup.
The fennel is distinct, yes, but neither subtle nor over-powering. You can taste it. And the bell pepper gives the dish some sweetness. Of course it is a creamed soup, and there is the addition of cream… but you could also use lactose-free milk or coconut milk to thicken the base.
And for those who have no issue with dairy, maybe add a spoonful of (lactose-free?) yogurt on top to be stirred in at the table.
Grilled cheese is an automatic paring for this soup; but crusty bread, or rice crackers would also fit the bill.
Or serve fennel-tomato soup as an appetizer to dinner, rather than as it’s own meal… like at a restaurant, but better. The fennel in this dish will be present in both name and in soup.
Roasted Fennel and Tomato Soup
This makes a small batch of soup (maybe 4 servings?), but can easily be doubled.
- 1/2 fennel bulb, darkest green bits and fronds trimmed off: chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1/2 red bell pepper: chopped (2 inch pieces)
- 1 smal onion: chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1/2 cup cream (10%)/ lactose-free milk/ coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper, to taste
Toss fennel pieces, pepper pieces and 1 tbsp olive oil to coat the vegetables; spread on a baking pan and roast for 20 minutes at 400F.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, soften the onion in 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium low heat.
Once all the vegetables are cooked, add the fennel and peppers to the onion in the pot, along with the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer 10 minutes. Puree until smooth.