Stuffed Monster Heads
Roast Beet and Fennel Soup
I had this soup at a dinner party that a friend hosted and had to have the recipe. It is a superb soup that is perfect during the cool fall and winter months. It has great flavor, and color to die for. As a matter of fact, this soup almost had the lovely Halloween title of "A Soup to Dye For", but I will save that pun for a soup created for a younger audience. This soup is sophisticated and elegant. For another variation I like to swirl a little bit of sour cream that has been mixed with enough Grand Marnier to give it a little color and flavor into the soup and top it with toasted caraway seeds. It is exquisite. I also like adding a few tablespoons of fresh dill to this soup before pureeing for a tasty more traditional variation.
5 medium beets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large chopped onions
3 thinly sliced fennel bulbs
3 1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
toasted fennel seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the beets well and trim off the root end. Cut off the greens, leaving several inches of stem intact. Do not peel the beets. Wrap in heavy duty foil and bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours depending on the size and age of your beets. Let the beets cool slightly, then carefully unwrap the foil. Let cool until you can handle them. Peel the beets and chop into small pieces. Place the olive oil and onions in a large heavy soup kettle and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the fennel and 1/4 cup of the chicken broth. Cover and cook the mixture for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining broth and beets and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Puree the soup in small batches, then reheat. Add the orange juice and heat through. Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and toasted fennel seeds.
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