Easy Tomato & Fennel Soup
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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
2 chopped celery stalks
I clove garlic, crushed
2 finely chopped fennel bulbs
1 28-ounce can diced Italian tomatoes
I quart carton low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbls finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tbls torn basil
Sauté onions, garlic, celery and fennel in the olive oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes without browning. Add tomatoes and stock, salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat and simmer for 40 mins until vegetables are completely tender. Take off heat and cool slighty. Puree with a hand blender or carefully pour into a blender/food processor and whizz until just smooth. Pour back into pan, set heat on low to reheat, adding most of the chopped parsley and basil and adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle the remaining herbs on top. Serves 8-12.
Light, warming and colorful and served to revellers on New Year's Eve as an alternative to Split Pea and Ham Soup.