This carrot and fennel soup is easy to make and has a great depth of flavour. The perfect soup for a cold night.
I love carrots; they are one of the most forgiving vegetables. They are easy to grow, somehow stubbornly burrowing into the ground and surviving as the caterpillars, slugs and snails munch on everything else. They are lovely eaten raw or served alongside a meal and they also make a lovely soup. Not only is it tasty it is also healthy, and as the nights get shorter brilliant for helping your night vision.
When we stayed at Ox Pasture Hall we got to try their tomato and fennel soup. I have to admit I am not keen on fennel. Aniseed is one of those flavours that you either love or hate and it is not a taste I like. The tomato and fennel soup was a revelation; it did not taste of aniseed but had a warm earthiness that added a depth of flavour to the tomato.
I wondered if I could create a carrot and fennel soup and if it would have the same depth of flavour. I experimented with some fennel seeds that had come with one of my spice racks. It worked really well and added a rich flavour to the carrot soup.
These days are perfect for soup, the nights are getting shorter and it is getting harder to drag yourself up in the mornings as they are not longer light. A definite chill can be felt in the air and the leaves are turning golden and falling from the trees.
A bowl of soup makes a lovely warming lunch served with crusty bread fresh from the oven. It is also a lovely starter for an evening meal, perfect on those days when the fog is coming in or the rain is lashing against the window and you just want to snuggle indoors. It is also perfect to heat up when you have got caught in the rain, soaked though and dripping.
I love to make a big batch of soup to last a few days or to have some to freeze. That way I always have some ready when it is needed.
Soup is also a great way to use up vegetables that are about to go off, saving them from being thrown out and wasted. Indeed for this soup I used up a big bag that was lurking at the bottom of the fridge. It was definitely a tasty way to use them.
The soup is really simple to make, it is just a question of chopping up carrots, onions, garlic and gently frying them up in some oil which has had a teaspoonful of fennel seeds and a teaspoon full of caraway seeds added. Stock is then added to the mixture and it is cooked until it is soft. Finally the soup just needs to be blended until it is smooth and served. For a touch of real luxury you can add a little cream.
For other warming soups why not try potato soup.