All photos: Laura Hobbs, Fayetteville Flyer
Well, here we are! The final stop in the Flyer Foodie Soup Series. Over the past weeks, I’ve given you brothy, creamy, blend-y (?) and finally – chunky. Surely out of these four soup recipes, you can find something that floats your crouton.
You may remember, a while back – OK, more like two years back – I wrote a column on a creamy tomato soup I made for a girls luncheon. In the column, I lamented about how tomato soup has often been cast aside as a culinary wet blanket:
To many, tomato soup conjures up memories of an orangey, gelatinous liquid in a can, with its salty, oddly sweet, Spaghetti-O-esque flavor, served alongside a smooshed, greasy grilled cheese sandwich. To others, it invokes visions of Andy Warhol’s famous silkscreen art. Whatever the association, tomato soup has long gotten the short end of the culinary stick, so to speak. Its limits are historically narrow – and rather boring: tomato, onion, basil, oregano, stock, zzzzzz… Where’s the style, the adventure, the pizzazz, the flavor?
With that soup, in an effort to keep things simple and cheap, I used only ingredients I had on hand: canned tomatoes, heavy cream, pesto, wine (for the soup and for the cook, natch), and the whole thing was blended up with creamy, smooth swagger and delish results.
Instead of going for a creamy, smooth texture this time, I wanted to achieve a chunky, rustic quality. Why? Because Hubs requested it. I wish I had a more creative answer, but that’s just how things work around my house. You’ll also notice that fennel is making yet another appearance – its slight sweetness plays a vital role in offsetting the acidity of the tomatoes.
This soup cooks long enough to allow all the ingredients to become good buddies, with everything breaking down into thick, chunky goodness. It’s especially awesome served with a big hunk of crusty, buttered bread or a nice crunchy salad.
We still have several months of winter weather ahead of us – let’s keep things warm and cozy with plenty of soup, shall we? Without further ado, the final recipe of the Soup Series: Chunky Tomato & Fennel. Enjoy!
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Chunky Tomato & Fennel Soup
2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 c. white wine
1 (28 oz.) can San Marzano tomatoes
4 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
Olive oil, salt & pepper
In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, fennel and onion, and reduce the heat to low. Sweat the vegetables for about half an hour, until they’ve gone completely soft and are just beginning to brown. Increase the heat to medium high and add the garlic and Italian seasoning, cooking for 30 seconds. Add the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan and bringing it to a simmer. Allow the wine to cook down, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about an hour, until the soup has reduced slightly and the vegetables are very soft. Add the sugar and soy sauce, and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville, but has recently moved to Boulder, Colorado. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more from Laura, check out her food blog, Prana & Pie.