Roasted Fennel Soup with Hazelnuts

PUBLISHED ON: 02.13.2011
Last weekend, I experienced a soup that was intensely flavorful but, was delicate on the palate.  This was proof that food made with only a few fresh ingredients can deliver concentrated flavors that are satisfying and comforting.  This soup included fennel, onions and rosemary, that were roasted, and combined with a good quality stock.  The final touch was a dusting of toasted hazelnuts.   
Roasted Fennel Soup with Hazelnuts
Serves 8
Recipe from Chef Marc Canora/Prepared by Robert Butler

8 large fennel bulbs, trimmed cut into 8 wedges
3 large onions, cut into 8 wedges
4-four-inch long fresh rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup hazelnuts
10 cups chicken stock
1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  In a large roasting pan, toss the fennel with the onions, rosemary sprigs and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 45 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the fennel is tender and browned in spots.  Discard the rosemary sprigs.
2.  Meanwhile, spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
3.  Scrape the vegetables and any juices into a large soup pot.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 35 minutes.
4.  In a blender, carefully puree the soup in batches until smooth.  Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot.  Reheat the soup and season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve.

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