This soup starts with big mounds of sliced fennel and onions, but don’t worry—these vegetables will reduce dramatically as they slowly cook down, turning brown and sweet and developing a deep, rich flavor that you will love.–Anna Thomas
Fennel and Onion Soup Recipe
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes | Serves 6 to 7
- 3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed
- 4 large yellow onions
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup dry wine, red or white
- 6 cups homemade light vegetable broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cheese croutons, optional garnish
- 1. Trim and clean the fennel bulbs, quarter them lengthwise, and slice them thinly crosswise. Peel the onions and do the same, cutting them in quarters lengthwise, then slicing thinly.
- 2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in each of two large saute pans. Add the fennel to one and the onions and bay leaf to the other, each with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook the vegetables slowly over medium-low heat, stirring pretty often, until they are all a gorgeous golden brown. This will take forever—45 minutes to 1 hour—but you can be doing other things as long as you cast an eye on them now and then and give them a stir.
- 3. When both the fennel and onions are nicely softened and browned, add the wine to the fennel to deglaze the pan and then add the fennel to the onions. Continue cooking and stirring until the wine has cooked away and the vegetables are sizzling. Combine the caramelized fennel and onions with the broth in a soup pot and use a little of the broth to deglaze the pan, so that all the lovely brown bits go into your soup. Simmer the soup gently, covered, for another 20 minutes to blend all the flavors. Add pepper to taste.
- 4. Taste, and correct the seasoning with a little more salt if needed.
- This soup is wonderful with a cheese crouton on each serving, the way traditional onion soup is served. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls or individual casseroles, place a piece of toasted French bread on top of each serving, and cover each toast with about 1 ounce grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese or any sharp, aged cheese that you like. Put the bowls on a baking sheet and slide them under a broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to melt and brown the cheese.
Fennel and Onion Soup Recipe © 2009 Anna Thomas. All rights reserved.