So I don't like fennel but I LOVE this soup. There's something about roasting the fennel and cooking it with carrots that gives it a sweet and complex depth to this soup. You're probably thinking this soup sounds kind of weird, but trust me, you have to try it. It's really easy and I promise that you'll love it.
Adapted from this recipe from Sweet Amandine and this recipe from Orangette.
1 fennel bulb
1 ½ pound carrots
2 T. olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic
2 T. tomato paste
5 c. vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Trim the fennel bulb (discard the stalks, but reserve and set aside the fronds), cut in half lengthwise, and then into ½-inch-thick wedges. Peel and slice the carrots into ¼-inch rounds. Toss the carrots and fennel with 1 T. olive oil, and several grinds of sea salt and black pepper. Spread the carrots and fennel evenly on a lined or lightly-oiled baking sheet, and slide into the oven for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender.
While the carrots and fennel are roasting: Coarsely chop the onion. In a large heavy pot, heat the remaining 1 T. of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic , and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Turn the heat to low, add the tomato paste, and stir to incorporate.
Add the roasted carrots and fennel to the pot, add 4 c. of vegetable broth, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, and use a standing blender or an immersion blender to purée the soup. Add the additional 1 c. of broth, in part or in full, until you have achieved the thickness that you desire. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to serve this with cheese toasts (whole wheat bread topped with gruyere cheese and baked in the oven for 5 minutes after the veggies come out).
Yield: Serves 4-6