Sunday, August 8, 2010

Vegetable Soup Stock with Fennel

Fennel is in season down here in South Oz --probably most other parts of Oz too. You can get a full sized fennel bulb for $1.99 at the shops now.

fennel bulb

Needless to say, I've been doing a lot with fennel bulbs lately.

But what about those stalks that you trim off?
fennel stalks

SOUP STOCK! But this won't be a regular soup stock cus the fennel stalks impart a very mild licorice flavour to the stock so you need to season the stock appropriately.

Here's what I did for a very wonderfully flavoured soup stock.

What you need:

stalks from one fennel bulb --rough chopped
1 small onion --chopped
1 tbsp dried basil
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves of crushed garlic
6 to 8 dried curry leaves
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 inch grated ginger root
1 gallon water (H2O)
sea salt to taste --you'll only want a tiny bit

What you do:

Chuck everything except the sea salt into a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover and low boil/high simmer for an hour. You don't want to lose more than an inch of water in the pot, so keep it covered and adjust the heat accordingly.

Let it cool a bit and then strain out all the chunky stuff. Give it a taste and salt to your taste. Only use a bit of salt at a time cus you do not want too much salt in this stock or you'll ruin it.

Let it cool completely and refrigerate till use. Or use it that day. I wouldn't keep it longer than a few days before using it though. I used mine the next day to make a fennel, prawn, and prosciutto risotto. Obviously, the stock was the liquid that the rice and other stuff was cooked in. Look for that recipe next as it was delish.

You can also separate the stock into smaller containers and freeze them till you need some, no worries.


Couscous & Consciousness said...

Oh - I'm envious - $1.99 a bulb. We have fennel in season right now here in New Zealand too - but we're paying $5.99 for a much smaller looking bulb than your one looks. I'm so pleased someone else freezes their fennel tops for stock too. I have "baggies" in my freezer full of fennel stalks, chicken backbones, parmesan rinds and egg whites :-) Great blog, by the way, I'll definitely be stopping by again.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

G'day Sue, greetings from across the Tas.

Until this year I'd never done any cooking with a fennel bulb. Boy was I missing out! Bummer about the price of them over there, and yes, that was a BIG bulb.

On the hill next to our suburb the stuff grows wild. Tons of the stuff.

The stalks do make a great stock. I actually boiled them by themselves for 30 mins or so before adding the rest of the goodies. Wanted to get an idea of the flavour so I'd know what to add.

So, you have chicken carcasses and egg whites in your freezer too? Ditto here. Heck, you never know when you'll need to make chicken soup with a meringue topping :)!

I'll be adding your food blog to my list momentarily as I like your blog and writing style.

Weight Loss Program said...

Could you freeze the soup stock?

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

WLP: Yup, the stock freezes well, no worries. I separate it into smaller containers so I don't have to thaw a huge block just to get a couple of cups of stock.

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Dave, so glad you at last discovered fennel - I love it raw as well in salads (especially great with orange and black olives). I also use it in a lot of dishes as a replacement for onion, since my partner will absolutely not eat onions other any circumstances, and I'm a bit ho-hum on them, but fennel makes a great substitute and is often I think an improvement.
You know what really bums about the outrageous price of fennel, even though it is in season here now, is that most of what they're selling in the supermarkets comes from the Phillipines - WTF?
Meringue-topped chicken soup - great idea!
Hope you're having a great day.