Provence in a Bowl Fennel Tomato Soup with Pastis
In his easy recipe, David has combined iconic tastes of Provence – tomatoes, fennel and Pastis – into a bowl (original Cocoa & Lavender post here).
In summer months, local market stands showcase tomatoes of every description from trendy multi-coloured heirloom varieties to a Provencal version of the juicy beefsteak to tiny cocktail versions. Fennel grows wild along the side of the road, where sensible cooks harvest the stocks for use in recipes at a later date. On the fennel theme, Pastis is a popular anise-flavoured liqueur that turns a cloudy yellow when water is added to the glass.
Fennel-Tomato Soup with Pastis
- 8 tbsp Butter
- 1 large Fennel Bulb chopped with feather fronds reserved
- 1 large Sweet onion chopped
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Chimayo chile powder or other mild chile powder
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 35-oz can (1L) Peeled Roma Tomatoes
- 1 cup Vegetable Broth
- 4 tbsp Pastis or to taste
- Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped fennel and onion and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are soft - about 20 minutes.
- Add salt, chile and pepper, and cook one minute more.
- Add the tomatoes and all the juices form the can, stir well and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook a simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly.
- Purée the soup in two batches in a blender, adding 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock to each batch.
- Put the soup through the finest disk of a food mill into a clean pan and add the pastis, stirring to blend.
- Thoroughly wash the feathery fennel fronds and reserve 8 small stems for garnish, if desired.
- Chop remaining fronds and stir in 1/4 cup (packed) to the soup. Bring to a simmer and serve.