One of my favorite cookbooks is John Besh’s My Family Table. A particular recipe, Creamy Any Vegetable Soup, has become one I turn to regularly, mainly because it is easily adaptable to whatever veg is coming out of the garden. We have quite a bit of celery and fennel that needs to be used, so in this version of the recipe, these vegetables are my inspiration. I also like to make this soup using cauliflower substituted for the fennel. In the book, Besh stresses that this recipe is a building block for any number of creamy soups, so feel free to substitute ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
Next, I sliced a couple of fennel bulbs and added these to the pot to sauté along with two cloves of minced garlic.
We also had the first harvest of new potatoes on hand, so I diced these and added them to the pot along with the chicken broth, salt and pepper. The recipe calls for one potato, but I use two or three depending on how thick I want the soup. Also, at this point, John Besh says to add the cream, but I wait until after I’ve finished simmering the soup to add it.
After about 20 minutes, I stirred in the cream and removed the soup from heat. With my immersion blender, I blended the soup into a chunky purée.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 or 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium new potatoes, unpeeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery and carrots and sauté until almost softened.
- Add the fennel and sauté along with the other vegetables until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
- Add the potatoes and chicken broth along with a teaspoon of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce immediately to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and remove from heat.
- Using an immersion blender, purée the soup.