Monday, January 26, 2015

fennel & white bean soup with slow-roasted tomatoes

January, you cold beast. There is so much pressure to shake off the rich foods of the holidays and get back into healthy eating patterns. But, it's freezing and dreary and we're still aching for comfort food. We need warmth in our bones. What better for thawing out than soup? This one is a good balance of hearty, with it's smoky broth and deeply sweet tomatoes, with some sunshine-inducing brightness from the fennel and lemon juice. Slurp the chill away!

Fennel & White Bean Soup with Slow-roasted tomatoes-8 Roma tomatoes, halved
-3 Tablespoons olive oil (divided)
-2 Fennel bulbs, halved and sliced (use stems in broth, reserve fronds for garnish)
-1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
-splash of dry white wine
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-8 cups smoky fennel poultry broth (see below) or chicken broth
-2 cans cannelini or butter beans
-lemon and fennel fronds to serve 
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºF. Toss the halved tomatoes in 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil, with salt to season. Place in a casserole dish, cut-side down, with space in between. Roast for about an hour until soft and starting to brown and get sticky. Let cool a bit then roughly chop and set aside. 
In a 5-quart dutch oven or heavy large saucepan, saute the fennel and onion in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, with salt to taste, until soft and starting to brown. Add the slow-roasted tomatoes and minced garlic and stir and cook another 2-3 minutes. Splash in the white wine to de-glaze, scraping up all the brown sticky goodness from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and let cook at a low simmer for at least 20 minutes, up to 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over the soup, fennel frond garnish and warm, crusty bread. And wine, duh.
Slow-roasted tomatoes are an easy way to make sad winter tomatoes sweet, flavorful and pretty.
Smoky Fennel Poultry Broth-carcass from 1 roasted chicken
-4 smoked turkey tails (or 3 necks)
-stems from 2 bulbs of fennel, roughly chopped
-1 yellow onion, quartered
-2-3 carrots, roughly chopped
-4 garlic cloves, slightly smashed 
Place the chicken and turkey tails in a large stock pot and cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a low boil, then turn the heat down and add all the vegetables. Let barely simmer for 2-3 hours (the longer the better). Strain out and discard all the solids. Use for soup and store the rest in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for months.

What would you do with this leftover broth? Share your ideas in the comments!

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