It seems that fall has arrived. This is the time of year when soup just seems to hit the spot. The Goddess loves the autumn and all the good flavors that go with it, including this soup. The summer’s been hot and well, The Goddess and heat don’t mix so well. (Yes, The Goddess is aware that Miami is just a mite warm in the summer. But when the snow flies up North….) Anyway, this is a terrific soup to make at the end of the summer when the tomatoes are still on the vine, but truth be told, and The Goddess always tells the truth (wink-wink!!!), she used canned tomatoes for this. She needs to clean out the pantry and besides, those last few lovely fresh tomatoes will be far better used to make Catalan Tomato Bread, tomato sandwiches or Avocado, Fried Egg and Sandwiches.
This soup goes together reasonably quickly and easily. Tomato and fennel are so very good together and then you throw in some fresh-off-the-cob corn kernels near the end. You know, so they still have a bit of crunch. It’s a marriage made in heaven. The addition of some parmesan rinds was an afterthought. When the container with the rinds in it, fell out of the fridge and dropped smack-dab on her foot, The Goddess got that message loud and clear. It was a happy accident because those little chewy bits made the whole thing perfectly complete…you know, with some good bread or a grilled cheese of some sort. Life can be soooo good!
Tomato, Corn and Fennel Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup chopped fennel (about 1/2 a fennel bulb)
- 1 onion, finely diced (at least 1 cup or more)
- 2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juice
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them)
- 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 ears corn, kernels cut off and cobs reserved
- 5 cups water or chicken stock
- Reserved corn cobs
- 1 teaspoon light brown or maple sugar or maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Add the oil and butter to a large heavy-bottomed pot; heat over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, onions and bay leaf; lower the heat to medium and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Give the mixture a stir now and then. Add the garlic and cook until softened for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, zest, rosemary, and pepper flakes, if using; continue to cook for 5 minutes.
While the above mixture is cooking, combine the water, corn cobs (the corn kernels will be added later), sugar, and salt. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the cobs.
Add the liquid to the fennel mixture; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until fennel is very tender, about 25-35 minutes.
To finish the soup: Remove and discard the bay leaf. Purée the soup with an immersion blender, or in a blender or food processor (in small batches); purée until only partially smooth or completely smooth. Add the parsley and thyme to the last batch and purée, as desired. Stir in the reserved corn kernels and orange juice concentrate. Simmer over lower heat for about 10 minutes. The corn should still be quite crisp. Stir in the heavy cream; taste and correct the seasoning (You may need to add more salt or sweet). Ladle hot soup into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some good bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.
NOTE: You can add 1 shredded carrot with the tomatoes, if desired. You my increase the cream, if you wish and evaporated milk works well with this, too. You may add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary with the tomatoes. Feel free to change the thyme to tarragon or basil only. I threw 5 pieces of parmesan rinds in with the tomatoes, let them simmer until I was ready to purée the soup. I removed them and diced them into pea-sized pieces and returned the diced rinds to the soup with the corn kernels.
Tomato, Corn and Fennel Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This soup can also be served chilled, when you have that one, odd hot autumn day, and it reheats beautifully in the microwave. I’m not certain how it would freeze, but it keeps long enough so you will use it up and you’ll pretty much want to eat it for lunch and dinner, with some diced fresh tomatoes and a drizzle of garlic olive oil.The Goddess did have a bowl for breakfast, you know her. She does crazy things like that. But, she did leave the garlic olive oil for dinnertime. She’s not quite that crazy!