Zupa z Kopru Wloskiego – Fennel Soup was headlining on our menu when we hosted friends from the church where I work for a meal recently. We had Sue (who shared her relish recipe with us), Bill (one of our beloved volunteer receptionists), and Mila and her husband Jan. Mila is a Russian-Swedish artist, whose Icons in Transformation exhibit is at the church for the next few months. Jan is originally from Bydgoszcz, Poland, He grew up in Sweden, but he was raised by a Polish mother, so I suspected that soup would be a most welcome first course.
We were serving salmon, and fennel was one of the many complimentary flavor listed in The Flavor Bible (affiliate link). Fennel soup it was! Given its appearance and the fact that Fennel or Koper Wloski is from the Mediterranean, it makes sense the Polish name translates as Italian Dill.
Fennel isn’t something that I ate growing up. I first tasted it a few years ago when we visited Ireland. I had a quiche with fennel in a wonderful wine bar, that was owned by a Polish woman. I’ve found a few ways to use it since that first experience. The Zupa z Kopru Wloskiego – Fennel Soup is definitely a do over. It was perfect to proceed the salmon. The flavor was harmonious without being overpowering. I’d love to hear about the ways you use fennel.
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 whole clove
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 4 large bulbs fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped (I used the stalks too)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- chives for garnish
- Add the coriander sees, star anise, cardamom pods, clove, and oil to a Dutch oven
- Saute over medium high heat for a few minutes until the seeds begin to pop
- Transfer the spices to a piece of cheese cloth and bundle and tie into a tight package (or put the spices in a tea infuser that encases the tea on all sides)
- Add the fennel and onion to the pan and cook until golden, about 25 minutes
- Add the wine and cook until reduced by half
- Add the spice package and stock, bring to a boil
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally
- When the vegetable are tender, discard the spice package, and puree the soup with an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender
- Return the soup to the pan, add cream and season
- Gently simmer for a few minutes
- Serve sprinkled with chopped chives
Candied nuts would also make a nice garnish.