Roasted Fennel, Red Pepper, and Tomato Soup

Roasted Fennel, Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Before I get into my post tonight, I wanted to remind everyone to vote for your favorite Girl Scout Cookie Recipe!!  There are only two days left (the voting cuts off at 10:00pm PST on Friday night), and my girls are really hoping to watch me on TV – or maybe even get on TV themselves.  So, if you haven’t already voted, and you would be so kind, just remember – Samoas Ice-Cream Pie!!

There is nothing more satisfying to me than making something new out of leftovers – or what I call, making something out of nothing.  I hate wasting food, and I love the problem solving (or as some might call creativity) that it takes, and that wonderful feeling when it actually works.

As I have mentioned many times, I am obsessed with Fennel – I love it in just about everything – even cocktails.  Lately I have been slicing up fennel with some red pepper strips and tomatoes, then putting some chicken thighs on top and roasting the big pan in the oven until the fennel is soft, and the chicken is crispy on the outside, but moist on the inside.  It is delicious – a one dish meal complete with a flavorful pan sauce.  It is a weeknight dinner to be proud of.  Well, last weekend I had a bunch of fennel leftover, and some chicken stock and rice in the refrigerator that I had to use up – and it hit me.  I got out my favorite kitchen appliance as of late (I swear that Ninja Blender is amazing), and in a matter of minutes, I had a perfect lunch.  My husband even tried it, and loved it.

So here you go, whether you expand the recipe and start off with some roasted chicken first, or you just go for the soup, I know this will make you a healthy and satisfying meal to be proud of.  Now go vote!!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14.5 ounce jar petit diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups pre-cooked rice

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the thinly sliced fennel and red bell pepper into a 9×13 glass baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  Slightly drain the jar of tomatoes, and scatter around the fennel and bell pepper.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 45-60 minutes, or until the fennel is really soft.

Place the vegetables with the chicken broth in a blender – you may have to do this in two batches (use half the chicken stock and half the vegetables) and puree until smooth.  Add the cooked rice, and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:   Roasted Fennel, Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

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Roasted Pork with Fennel

Roasted Pork

In my opinion, fennel is the most underrated vegetable there is.  I discovered fennel a few years ago, and have been hooked ever since.  It is contagious too – I remember telling a good friend of mine about the roasted fennel I made, so she made it one night.  She was hooked, and couldn’t get enough of it.  Yes, it is on the more expensive side, but so well worth it – especially when roasted with pork.  This is one of my favorite recipes from Gourmet – even though it only came out about 9 months ago, I have made it at least a few times.  The crushed fennel seed rub on the pork really knocks it out of the park.  I have adapted the recipe slightly for temperature and cooking time.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (or better yet, ground fennel)
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, reserving fronds
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 C dry white wine
  • 1/2 C reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 with rack in middle.

Crush fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle if you feel like your arms need a good work-out.  If you are lucky enough to have a mini-cuisinart, use this to grind the seeds – also, a coffee grinder would work as well – just don’t plan on grinding coffee in it afterwards.  If you can find ground fennel seeds in the store – you just won the jack-pot.

Pat pork dry, then sprinkle with crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.  Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges.

Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-proof heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on all sides, about 6 minutes total, then transfer to a plate. Sauté garlic and fennel wedges in skillet until fennel is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add wine, stirring and scraping up brown bits, then stir in broth and butter. Put pork on top of fennel and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145 to 150°F, about 25 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer skillet to stove top (handle will be hot) and boil, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in lemon juice and 1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds. Thinly slice pork and serve over fennel with sauce.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here: Roasted Pork with Fennel

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