Here we go again – I know, the first word is fennel, I cannot ever resist a recipe with the word fennel in the title. Who am I kidding, even when fennel is in the ingredient list and not in the title, I still have to try it. Trader Joes has started carrying fennel, and now every week I cross my fingers before going into the store, hoping that they will have it. The problem with Trader Joes is that you can’t get too used to anything. Just because they have it one week, there is no guarantee it will ever show up again. So, back to the fennel – not only do they carry it, you get two huge bulbs for $2.99. It is the bargain of the century. Run out to your nearest Trader Joes right now and buy it up – but please don’t blame me if they don’t have it – or maybe they just ran out because all my blog followers beat you to it. That is wishful thinking, isn’t it.
This soup from Cooking Light was excellent – and so ridiculously healthy. What made this soup really zing in my opinion was the roasted pepper yogurt on top. It was so good, I was eating it with a spoon afterwards, and yes, I just happened to use the leftovers on these a couple of days later – how versatile. It is soup season, and this one is a keeper.
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 large fennel bulbs with stalks
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leek (about 2 medium)
- 1 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 ounces fresh spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Dash of ground red pepper
Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop; set aside.
Trim tough outer leaves from fennel. Mince feathery fronds to measure 2 tablespoons; set aside. Remove and discard stalks. Cut bulbs in half lengthwise; discard core. Chop bulbs to measure about 4 cups.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add fennel bulb, leek, and next 3 ingredients (through salt); cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, water, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in spinach and black pepper. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes at room temperature.
Pour half of fennel mixture into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining fennel mixture. Return pureed soup to pan; heat over medium heat 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt.
Combine roasted bell peppers, yogurt, lemon rind, lemon juice, and ground red pepper in a food processor; process until smooth.
Ladle about 3/4 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture. Garnish with fennel fronds.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Fennel and Spinach Soup with Roasted Pepper Yogurt