From the Chef
Here's a light, flavorful spring soup, whose luscious texture comes not from cream, but from blended toasted pepitas. The anise notes of the fennel complement the citrus and melon in the Uproot Sauvignon Blanc.
Serves 4 as a light first course
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium leeks (white parts only), thinly sliced and thoroughly rinsed
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 5 cups of stock (Use the recipe below for best results.)
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Large handful of small fresh bread cubes (about a cup or more)
- More olive oil (about a tablespoon) for making the croutons
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, freshly ground (measure before grinding)
- Green tops of the 2 medium leeks you’re putting in the soup, thoroughly cleaned and coarsely chopped
- Stalks and fronds of the 2 fennel bulbs you’re putting in the soup, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Small handful of fennel seeds (about 3 tablespoons)
- Small handful of parsley sprigs (or stems), coarsely chopped
- For the stock: Put 6 cups of water in a stock pot. Add everything, along with the crushed fennel seeds, cover, and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down. Let the stock bubble for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain and measure the stock. Add water if necessary to make five cups.
- For the soup: In a large, heavy soup pot, warm the olive oil and then add the sliced leeks. Coat with the oil, cover the pot, and sweat for about three minutes over medium low heat, stirring after a minute or so.
- Add the fennel, celery, and 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves, along with the stock and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat and let the soup simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees (you can also use a toaster oven).
- Meanwhile, toast the pepitas in a dry skillet over medium heat for about a minute, shaking frequently to prevent burning. Immediately remove them from the skillet and put them into a blender.
- For the croutons: Toss the bread cubes with a good sprinkling of olive oil. Sprinkle on a hefty pinch of salt, the remaining teaspoon of thyme leaves and the ground fennel seeds. Bake on a cookie sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant.
- Use a ladle or cup measure with a handle to remove about 1/2 cup of broth from the soup. Put it in the blender with the toasted pepitas. Hold the lid down using a tea towel. Blend on high for about 3 minutes, scraping down a few times.
- Add the rest of the contents of the soup pot to the blender. Cover the top of the lid with a tea towel and blend on high for two minutes. Scrape down the sides, blend for another two minutes, scrape again, then blend for another minute. Test for salt. Garnish with the croutons and serve.
- Pour yourself a glass of Uproot and Enjoy!