Kudos to my sis! This former fast-food junkie has become a lot more conscious of the foods she prepares for her family in recent years. The fact that her husband has had a heart attack (requiring quadruple bypass surgery) and a stroke in the past few years--as well as being diagnosed diabetic--has most likely had something to do with this. In any event, I couldn't be happier that she is trying to eat better and to make sure her family does the same! Knowing that I'm a veggie, she has been sharing any good vegetarian recipes that come her way. This one comes from a neighbor who is quite the creative chef. Simple and delicious, it's the perfect dinner for a cold winter night. Serve with a warm crusty loaf of homemade bread, and you're in business. Thanks, sis : ) !
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with rack in lowest position.
- Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1 T and reserve. Discard stalks and remaining fronds. Slice bulbs 1/4" thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, 3 T olive oil, sugar. salt, and pepper. Spread in a 10" x 13" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper and roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and tender, appx. 30-45 minutes.
- When vegetables are done, remove from oven and cool slightly. Place vegetables in a large soup kettle and add vegetable broth. Using a hand blender, blend vegetables and broth together until very smooth. (Alternately, you can blend the vegetables and broth in a blender in batches, and transfer to a soup kettle when blended.) Thin with water if needed.
- Over medium heat, bring soup just to boiling, and then lower heat to keep warm until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, finely grind fennel seeds in a spice or coffee grinder and stir into remaining 2 T olive oil.
- Serve soup drizzled with fennel oil and sprinkled with reserved chopped fronds.
- (Note: fennel oil can be made up to two days ahead and kept at room temperature until ready to serve.).