Roasted Fennel Soup

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
1 large yellow onion, trimmed and cut into wedges
1 large sprig rosemary
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
About 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock)
¼ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (walnuts are good, too)

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Place the fennel, onions, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables well to ensure an even coating. Transfer mixture to a baking sheet (you may wish to cover the sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper) and roast vegetables for about 40 minutes until golden and tender.

Remove the rosemary and transfer mixture to a stock pot. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to lowest setting and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, making sure to keep the blade immersed in the liquid the entire time (a liquid blender or food processor will also work).

Once a completely smooth consistency has been achieved, pour the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot or bowl. Return the pot to burner, add the heavy cream and cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with a touch of olive oil.

To Store: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for up to two months.

Tony’s Tip: Do not skip the straining step when making this soup – it is critical to developing the right consistency and texture.

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