Fennel and Leek Soup with Mushrooms
This creamy soup has no cream in it. The flavor is subtle with leeks, fennel and thyme and made meaty with the addition of sautéed mushrooms.
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
½ lb. wild mushrooms
6 leeks, white and pale green parts only
2 fennel bulbs, chopped into a large dice (reserve a few fronds)
1 small bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
1 tsp. salt
6 cups vegetable broth
In a large dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add thyme and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms get tender and brown. Remove from heat. Transfer mushrooms to a small bowl. Reserve thyme.
Fill a large bowl with water. Slice the leeks lengthwise, then chop them cross wise into half inch pieces. Transfer the leeks to the bowl of water. Using your hands, agitate the vegetables in the water to dislodge any trapped grit and dirt. With your hands, working in batches, scoop the leeks to a salad spinner and spin dry.
Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add leeks, fennel, reserved thyme and salt stir to combine. Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and translucent. Add vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove thyme stems (most of the leaves should have come off during this simmer and you’re really just removing the stems).
Working in batches transfer leek mixture to blender and puree until smooth. Warm soup over medium heat. Before adding mushrooms, make sure they have drained all their liquid — you may have to use some paper towel too pat them dry. (This is so the mushroom juice doesn’t discolor the soup).
Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with mushrooms and fennel fronds.
Notes: When pureeing hot liquid, only fill the container about half full. Put the lid on the container tightly, then cover with a dish towel to prevent splatters and/or burns.
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