Broccoli Fennel & Bean Soup with lots of possibilities......
Since it is winter, let's talk soup today.
It's been unusually cold outside, below 20F these last few days, so soup is all I really want.
Homemade soup is the best, especially if you have homemade chicken or turkey stock.....but I never frown upon using a good box of broth (I prefer Swanson's 33% less sodium Natural Chicken Broth).
This recipe is a basic guideline. The ingredients are all interchangeable.
You can use an onion, leeks, or fennel or all of the above......
Swap in fresh thyme for the rosemary if you like.......
I have made this with cannellini beans and with chickpeas........either or.
I use 2 slices of chopped speck (which is smoked prosciutto), but regular bacon is fine too.....or some leftover ham.
The only thing you must use is the BROCCOLI.....it is a broccoli soup!
The key to this soup is pureeing half the solids, to make it rich and creamy without the addition of cream or milk.
And my secret weapon to making soups even more delicious is my arsenal of Parmesan cheese rinds!
I keep a stash in the freezer and take out a small piece whenever I am making a broth type of soup like this.
Once you know how to make this soup, the possibilities are endless.
Broccoli Fennel & Bean Soup:
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 head of fennel, sliced and cut into same size pieces as the onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 slices of speck or bacon, chopped
1 can of chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (you can use thyme)
5 cups of chicken broth
leftover rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano
hot pepper flakes
In a large Dutch oven (I love my Le Creuset pots the best), heat some olive oil and butter on medium heat.
Add the bacon, onions, fennel and garlic until softened and pork is cooked.
Add in the broccoli and hot pepper flakes and cook another minute.
Add in the stock, cheese rind, chickpeas or beans and fresh herbs.
When the soup is cool enough to handle, transfer about half the solids (with some broth) to another pot or bowl.
With an immersion blender (hand held stick blender....best thing ever invented), blend the solids, then transfer back into the big pot of soup.
I sometimes splash a small amount of red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice just before serving.