I am a tomato soup fan especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. But this time, I tried a different version that was a little more interesting in my opinion. If you are a tomato soup fan and could use a little more variety, I highly recommend giving this one a try! It was also exciting for me because I got to use my new immersion blender for the first time! Let me tell you, this is a must if you like to make soups. It makes it so much easier since you no longer have to take the soup out in batches to puree. With the immersion blender, you just blend within the pot. FYI: I made half the recipe.
Tomato and Fennel Soup with Pernod Cream
Source: Sunday Soup
4 medium fennel bulbs
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup diced carrot
2 T. chopped fresh tarragon, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. red-pepper flakes
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well
4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup creme fraiche (divided )
¾ tsp. Pernod/ Anise (optional)
Cut off and discard stalks from fennel. Halve the bulbs lengthwise, and cut out and discard the tough inner cores. Chop enough fennel to yield 3 cups.
Heat the oil in a large, deep-sided pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chopped fennel, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and starting to brown, for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped tarragon, 1 tsp. salt and the red-pepper flakes.
Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock and continue to cook at a gentle simmer (reducing heat slightly, if necessary) until the vegetables are tender, for about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in batches in a food processor, blender or food mill and return the soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to puree soup in the pot.) Ladle a little of the warm soup into a small bowl and whisk in 1/3 cup of the creme fraiche. Then whisk this mixture into the soup. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (The soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)
To serve, ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 6 bowls. If desired, whisk Pernod with the remaining 1/3 cup creme fraiche in a small bowl. Garnish the center of each serving with a dollop of creme fraiche (with or without the Pernod) and a fresh tarragon sprig.