I have mentioned in some of my previous posts that I like to incorporate some protein element to my dishes to keep them nutritionally balanced. The logic is that if this is the only thing you are going to eat for that meal, you will feel satisfied and fuller for longer because of the fibre, protein and low glycaemic index of vegetables. Fennel is a versatile vegetable and you should try if you haven’t tried it before. You can roast it with beetroot for a roast salad or finely slice for a crisp coleslaw or is great in soup. Fennel also goes well with tomato and any white beans – you can make a soup out of tomato, fennel and cannellini beans.
My recipe uses your pantry staple lentils, leek and fennel. The trick to washing leeks well is to cut them in half longitudinal and wash the layers with running water. Fennel the vegetable is mild but it lets you know that it has been used. It is not in your face flavour but in the same token it is creamy when cooked and does take on more flavours. Do give this soup a try because every time I make it, the bowls are licked clean and it is a no fuss recipe with few ingredients!
1 leek, sliced thinly into half moons
1 large fennel or 2 medium sized (about 750g), chopped
100g lentils, rinsed well
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Salt to taste
Seaweed powder to garnish
Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan. Fry the leeks and garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the fennel and white pepper to the saucepan and continue frying for another 5 minutes. Mix the lentils in and add 800ml of water. Bring to the boil and let it simmer gently covered for 30 minutes.
At the end of cooking time, remove from heat and blitz well using a stick blender. Season with salt and pour the cream. Put the saucepan back on stove and gently heat for further 5 minutes. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top with seaweed powder. Serves 4.