Fennel and Potato Soup

This marvelous fennel and potato soup, reminiscent of the classic French potato and leek soup known as vichyssoise, gets its silkiness from butter, a touch of cream, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Onion, garlic, and fennel seeds lend flavor.

Three bowls of fennel and potato soup, topped with cracked pepper and a dribble of olive oil, spoons on the side

This creamy, smooth-as-velvet fennel and potato soup tastes far more indulgent than it actually is. Which, trust us, is a good thing, because if you’re anything like us, after one sip you’ll be wanting to sip it straight from the bowl.–Angie Zoobkoff

Fennel and Potato Soup

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 35 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 4 reviews
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In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add the fennel, onion, celery, garlic, anise seeds, if using, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 7 to 9 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook until the potatoes begin to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the broth, stirring and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are softened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the cream, cover, and continue to simmer until the vegetables are completely softened, about 5 minutes more.

Using an immersion blender (or using a standard blender and letting the mixture cool and blending it in batches), puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt. If the soup seems too thick, add a little additional broth to thin.

Serve the soup hot with a dribble of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I just love this fennel and potato soup. Potato soups of all stripes are soothing and delicious, but this variant with fennel is extra special. The combination of the anise flavor with the silken pureed potatoes provides just that bit of excitement to what might be a bland comfort food. I'm going to confess that I went a bit heavy on the anise seed. Do it if you love anise or leave them out if you'd prefer a more subtle soup. Between the browning of the aromatics, and the fact that there was some color to my vegetable stock, my soup came out quite a bit more brown than what is shown in the photo. It was really not a pretty soup, but it tasted delicious.

What a fabulous twist on the classic potato and leek soup! I’ll absolutely make this again, doubling the recipe to ensure there’s enough for seconds, and more to enjoy the next day. The soup is creamy without being heavy and is as delicious and comforting as it smells. It’s wonderful by itself but it would be a scrumptious accompaniment to any hot sandwiches. (There are quite a few pretty great grilled cheese recipes on LC—hint, hint!) One thing I would simplify next time—I would add the potato cubes when the vegetables are just beginning to become soft on the edges (no transferring them to a plate), then deglaze the pan at once after adding the entire amount of stock. The second tablespoon of olive oil was not needed for cooking; I drizzled it on the finished soup.

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