Thursday, 13 January 2011

Spicy Carrot and Fennel Soup (Gluten free and/or Vegan)


 There are some vegetables that I find disturbing.

One of them is this odd, black root vegetable that I see here in France. I’ve yet to work out what it’s called but it looks like a cross between a long, sweet potato and a lump of coal. And then there’s the Topinambour  also known –apparently – as the Jerusalem Artichoke.

Woeful in my ignorance, I had never heard of Topinambour, but after my dear friend Sam told me it makes you fart like a trooper, I have pledged never to cook it. And I have still not cooked a real artichoke, despite lovely blog friends describing at length how to do it in one of my comments boxes. Oh shameless cooking heathen.

And then there’s fennel.

The colours are pleasing enough and as far as I know it doesn’t make you trump, but what’s with it looking like a heart?

Here’s a diagram of a heart:

Here's a picture of fennel:





You see? Is it any wonder that in nearly 4 decades (I said nearly) I have never sliced into the Aorta or Vena Cava of fennel?

But now it’s January and I’m feeling lardy. The December bliss of stuffing tasty morsels willy- nilly into my mouth has to stop and it’s time to get back on track.

And while I was clicking around God I Love Paris I came across Heidi Swanson’s recipe for Carrot and Fennel soup

Filled with that January feeling that this year I might really change and become a much better, funnier, slimmer, nicer, kinder, more adventurous person whose skin is smooth and who has tight buns, Heidi’s recipe inspired me to take a blade to the fennel left ventricle.

Of course I wasn’t content to just follow the recipe, I had to bastardise it completely, adding plenty of spice to increase my metabolism and burn off fat (or something like that). Go heavy on the spice and you’ll find this a very warming dish indeed!

Happy January dears!

Spicy Carrot and Fennel Soup
Perhaps you would like to adopt my 'you can never have too much spice' maxim for 2011? In my book, if you're not sweating and agitated and you can still feel your lips, it ain't hot enough... Readers of a gentle disposition may adjust the spice quantities to suit their taste. 

2 bulbs of fennel
3 large carrots
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 green chilli peppers (or red ones)
1 tsp fenugreek powder (methi powder) check it's GF
Olive oil to fry
2-3 GF stock cubes
1 litre water (maybe more)
2 tbsps wine vinegar (weird, I know. Optional)
160g Basmati rice/other rice
  • Remove the frilly green bits from the fennel and reserve for decoration at the end
  • Faced with fennel I wasn't really sure what to do. I thought the outer skin might have to be discarded, but couldn't bring myself to waste it. So I washed it and chopped it along with the rest of the bulb.  I did cut the base off though. I also cut off the stalky bits that look so much like an aorta.  So, wash the exterior of the fennel, cut off the aorta and vena cava (stalks), cut off the base and chop roughly
  • Peel, top and tail the carrots and chop roughly.  Finely chop the garlic and green chilli peppers
  • Heat some olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the fennel, carrots, garlic and chilli peppers.  Fry on a medium to high heat for a minute or so and then add the cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and fenugreek.  Stir and fry until the veg is coated.  Add the vinegar
  • Add the litre of water and the GF stock cubes, bring to the boil, stir and reduce the heat so that it simmers energetically until the fennel is just cooked.  Adjust seasoning to taste
  • Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the packet instructions
  • When the rice is cooked, ladle some into the bottom of your soup bowl, then top up the bowl with spicy soup.  Add the chopped frilly fennel bits to garnish
  • Add a splash of Tabasco if you dare!
  • Eat, perspire and beg for water. Yum

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved


Iota said...

You're so right about the similarity to the human heart. Could you do a whole series on vegetables and their look-alike human organs.

Aimee Paradise said...

I had this recipe once before and it was delicious! Great way to use fennel. Yum!

Potty Mummy said...

I am inspired, as ever. Though not so sure I'm going to be able to find fennel over here...

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Always gratefully received by my coeliac wife!

Mel's Kitchen said...

AHHHhhh! That soups looks and sounds wonderful. I must have a bowl! Interesting about Fennel and its shape. For some reason I have been wishing to incorporate it into more of what I prepare here at home.

This is a link (an email version was going 'round this past year, too.) to a site discussing fruit, veg, & nut shapes and their benefits to the corresponding/matching organs in the body.

I think you've hit upon something!

I love your blog... xo

The teenie foodie said...

Haha I love this post, pig, I never saw the resemblance, but now I'll be a little creeped out when I next eat fennel.. I just love fennel, so great for you to give it a go! Thanks for this great recipe, soups are all I want in the winter. Looks delicious...

Teenie Foodie

Brittany @ Real Sustenance said...

This might be the best blog I have ever come across. You are hillarious. And I really enjoyed reading this post :) And further Im excited to try this recipe- I have never cooked with fennel before!
Wanted to invite you also to share this recipe (and others) at a weekly event I host titled Seasonal Sundays. Its goal of course is to feature Seasonal Ingredients.
xo, Brittany