I have been enjoying a cook book called “Feel Good Food” by Giada de Laurentiis of Food Network fame. This soup recipe just jumped out at me; my fridge or garden contained all the veggies in it, it sounded interesting and so I had to try it. Here is a picture I took of a bowl of it. Doesn’t do it justice at all; it is brighter in color and lighter on the palate. Refreshing when cold too!
My mom loves soup so I took her some and it disappeared rapidly. Simple to make, healthy, tasty and my mom liked it! Home run.
I used loose leaf garden lettuce in my version. Great way to use up an excess of garden lettuce before it can bolt! The original uses a head of Bibb lettuce. I wouldn’t suggest iceberg or romaine but any soft lettuce should work. I skipped the topping of fennel fronds she suggests; up to you on that issue. An alternative topping might be a few sprigs of finely chopped garden lettuce. And if you are a vegetarian I am sure you can easily substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth. It is tasty both warm and cold which I like.
A note on shallots. They are excellent in many recipes; more subtle than onions so I suggest you try it with shallots if at all possible. I get them fairly cheap at Valley Farm Markets in Bethlehem. I am positive Wegmans carries them too.
Green Pea, Fennel and Lettuce Soup
3 tbsp butter
1 medium fennel bulb chopped; about 2 cups
2 large shallots
1 medium head Bibb or Boston Lettuce, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 ten ounce bag petite peas, frozen (I weighted that out from a pound bag of peas)
1 ½ cup chicken broth
¾ tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Melt butter in a big heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add fennel and shallots. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften 6-7 minutes. Add he lettuce and stir until wilted; 1-2 minutes. Mix in broth, peas and a cup of water, bring to point of boiling, lower heat, cover and simmer for 6 minutes. Let cool partially.
Puree in blender in 3 batches adding ¼ tsp fennel seeds to each batch. Place in bowl and return all soup to sauce pan, add salt and pepper, reheat and serve warm but not hot. Might need to thin with water. Also yummy chilled.
This is naturally gluten free and will keep in your fridge for a few days, if it lasts that long. I call it “green soup” for short and it is nourishing and tasty for lunch on a hot summer day. This recipe is a keeper for me and I hope the same is true for you.