What a classic favourite is the French Onion Soup! In this recipe I am mimicking it but using fennel instead of onions. The taste overcame my expectations.
My challenge was to somehow get grilled cheese and some crust into the soup without using a bread. I have come up with a few options. At first I tried to use the bottom of the fennel and grilled it till soft then added cheese to finish. As a second option I made a high protein bread, it was wonderful. My favourite is grilled artichoke heart with Manchego cheese, and it is here in the picture.
French Fennel Soup
2 small-medium fennel bulbs
2 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp 4-leave balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Besan flour (15 g)
2 l bone broth
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper as desired
For four serves:
2 protein buns or four artichoke hearts (frozen are good too)
100 g Manchego cheese, grated
1. Put the ready to use bone stock on heat in 5 l pot.
2. Cut off all the green stems, wash and put into the pot with stock along with bay leaves to cook simmering. Cut the fennel in halves lengthwise and slice starting from the top to make even 2-3 mm slices. Leave the hard bottom.
3. In the wok or large frying pan, use any type of oil and cook sliced fennel on the low-medium heat until the fennel is soft and it’s easier to stir. Lightly season taking into account the stock taste, add the vinegar and mix. Increase the heat but do not let the fennel to burn, it needs to caramelise. The total time should not be longer than 15-20 minutes. Unlike the onions, which caramelise for 45-60 minutes, the fennel may break up easily, so mixing and stirring should be gentle.
4. When the fennel becomes translucent, add the Besan flour, mix gently again. Switch off the heat and leave it covered to rest.
5. Cut the buns open into halves, and toast or grill each half with the cheese on top. Alternatively, grill artichokes until soft and then finish off the grilling with the cheese.
6. Remove the fennel stems and bay leaves from the stock, then combine with caramelised fennel, heat up and simmer for 3 minutes. When served, top each soup bowl with the cheesy bun or artichoke.
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