A silky carrot and fennel soup with a hint of fresh squeezed orange juice that’s topped with shaved Parmesan and fresh herbs. It’s warming and delicious and just the thing for these snowy winter days.
This post was originally posted in March of 2013. I’ve updated the photos and the recipe itself just a tad. You may notice more of these post updates in the coming months. In the early days of my blogging life, things were, um, a little more off the cuff, so I’m combing through the archives and giving older recipes a thorough testing and better pictures. As always, thanks for reading!
I’ve been waiting for the moment when I could post a good soup recipe. Though I absolutely love the holidays and all the foods and flavors that accompany them, tradition can feel constraining, too. So for now, I’m glad to find myself in the wide open space of deep winter.
A Simple Stovetop Carrot and Fennel Soup with Orange
This carrot and fennel soup – originally posted way back in the spring of 2013 – is really an all-season kind of deal. But seeing as I found a trove of frost-sweetened carrots in my garden last week, it felt like a good time to make a big batch of carrot and fennel soup. Besides garden carrots and some hearty thyme, the rest of the ingredients are from the store – a few storage carrots (the deep orange kind without their greens), a fennel bulb, an onion, garlic, and a couple navel oranges.
For Best Texture, Use a Blender
The soup comes together pretty easily on the stovetop. You’ll want to cook the onions and fennel down first, and then add the garlic, carrots, Parmesan, and spices. It’s all simmered in whatever kind of broth you prefer (I used vegetable broth here), and then it’s blended until everything’s smooth and velvety. I recently got a new immersion blender and have been loving it, but this soup should be really well blended and silky, so it’s a good candidate for blending in an actual blender to get the very best texture.
The soup is finished with fresh squeezed orange juice and zest, a hint of apple cider vinegar, spicy Hungarian paprika, shaved Parmesan, and fresh herbs – here, thyme and minced fennel fronds. Consider serving the soup as an appetizer or with pan toasted croutons or grilled cheese for a more sating meal.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 small bulb fennel, woody green stems removed, cored, and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
- 2 pounds carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced into ¼ inch thick half moons (about 4 cups sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon spicy Hungarian paprika, plus more for garnish
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup thinly shaved Parmesan, use a vegetable peeler to create paper thin slices, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced fennel fronds, plus more for garnish
Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind cumin and coriander seeds and set aside.
In a large 5-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and sauté 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and all of the spices, and sauté 10 minutes more.
Add the broth. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, then turn heat to medium-low heat for a gently bubbling simmer. Cook 20 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange zest and juice, apple cider vinegar, and Parmesan. Working carefully, use a blender or immersion blender to blend soup to a silky smooth texture.
Pour soup back into the cooking pot and reheat over medium-low heat. Add the herbs and sea salt to taste.
Ladle into bowls and serve with a few Parmesan shavings, fresh herbs, paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil.
I like the way the Parmesan rounds out the flavor of this soup, but it can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese.