It’s been a warm, warm winter here in Austin, TX. Warm and crazy with temperature changes up to 20 degrees between one day to the next. Just the other day the temperature dropped to just chilly enough to enjoy a comforting bowl of soup. Then again I’m not sure you need a cold day to enjoy a soup this good. I debated using parsnips or carrots in this recipe and decided on the parsnips for two reasons. The first being that I wanted the soup to maintain a velvety white color. The second reason was because I wanted to make a potato soup and have the potato and fennel be the star, carrots have too strong of a flavor and would have masked the other players in the game.
Fennel and I have recently started a love affair. It’s like an aromatic onion that leads dishes to be so much tastier. I’m not sure how I went all my life without knowing the wonders of this vegetable. It’s perfect with roasted potatoes and chicken. Perfect in this soup. Perfect for winter. And just beautiful to look at. Also, it sounds fancy and makes me feel special when I eat it. Nom, nom, fennel.
Besides the delicious and aromatic fennel my true inspiration came from bacon and potatoes. A classic pairing. I was craving a potato soup, but wanted to add a little of my own twist to it. I love the classic version, the kind with loads of cream and topped with sour cream and sharp cheddar. This soup changed all my future potato soup cravings. This will be my craving, it is that good! Topped with fresh cashew cream and crispy bacon, drizzled with bacon grease and garnished with scallions. Perfection. Delicious. The key to release all those wonderful flavors is to roast all the vegetables. After that it’s as easy as adding stock and flavorings.
This soup is pretty quick to whip up. I left work at 1:30pm the other day and had time to go to the grocery store and whip up this soup before my husband’s lunch at 3pm. He was impressed. I think you will be too after making this silky perfection.
- 4 gold potatoes, cubed
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into fours
- 1 fennel bulb, cubed
- 5 garlic cloves
- 32oz vegetable stock (or chicken)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 thyme sprigs
- salt and pepper to taste
- -for garnish-
- 4 slices of crumbled bacon
- cashew butter
- bacon grease
- Heat the oven to 425°
- Place the vegetables on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 25-30 minutes. Stir around veggies at the 10 minute mark so they roast and brown on both sides.
- Once vegetable are done allow them to cool before you place them in a blender with half of the vegetable stock. Pulse a few times, adding the rest of the stock between pulses. After all the stock is incorporated blend until the soup reaches a velvety smooth consistency.
- Place soup in large pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add thyme sprigs to soup and allow it to come together on a low simmer, don't allow it to boil, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of bacon grease, bacon crumbles, cashew butter and chives.