Monday, November 24, 2008

ye olde fennel soupe

Woot anachronistic cooking! I've been wanting to try some medieval cuisine for a long time now, and a fennel in the fridge seemed as good a time as any to start. This is a pretty straightforward soup recipe, except that the spices are totally left field and extremely yummy. Apparently medieval cooks were heavy seasoners, actually, and used a lot of sour, sweet and spicy, and eastern ingredients when they could get their hands on them. Sounds good to me! And I tried soda bread for the first time --- it's so crusty and fast, I love it.

Damned Tasty Ye Olde Fennel Brothe


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 fennel bulb + greens, diced (put the greens aside)
1 medium white potato, diced (not authentic and tastier without!)
5-6 cups of 'chicken' broth
1 tsp dried galangal pieces (1/2 tsp of dried ginger might work, too)
4 whole cloves
a good pinch of saffron
lots of pepper
parsley
salt

1. In a soup pot, brown the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the potato and fennel and continue to cook until all the vegetables are golden and soft.
2. Add the broth and spices, bring it to a boil, then reduce and simmer, mostly covered, for about 25 minutes. Add the frilly fennel tops, check for seasoning, and keep simmering until the vegetables just start to break down into the broth. Puree if you're not feeling authentic (perhaps food mill or pound with a rock?). Serve with soda bread....

Soda Bread (for one)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 tsp each: salt, sugar, baking soda
2 tbsp + 1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
optional:
1 tbsp of currants or chopped raisins
1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Sift the flour with the salt, sugar and soda into a large cereal bowl.
3. Add the vinegar to the milk, then pour that into the dry ingredients.
4. Stir with your hands until a raggy dough forms, then turn it onto the counter and knead just a few times to smooth it out. Form that into a little biscuit shape, cut a cross on the top, place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until it's browned on the bottom and smelling nice.

25 comments:

Jes said...

I've never liked fennel before, but that soup might convince me otherwise!

VeggieGirl said...

Mmm, comforting!!

Vegyogini said...

Oh, my goodness, I LOVE fennel!

tofufreak said...

mmmm....yurmy--in my turmy :)

aTxVegn said...

I'm really not a fennel fan, but bread for one - yes!

Theresa said...

Soda bread for one! I'm scribbling down the recipe so I can make some for myself!

Cyn said...

That's crazy hardcore, but it looks super tasty.

shellyfish said...

I've never tried to make soda bread for 1 before - I love it!

Heikki said...

I've noticed too that old European recipes have galangal in them, which I find interesting. Why did "galingale" drop off the culinary map in the West, but ginger stayed? I find them so similar. For example in Thai cuisine both ginger and galangal are very common, which only... makes sense. I really like them both. Your soup looks lovely and the combination of spices sounds really really yummy!

Mihl said...

I agree with Heikki, it is really interesting that there is galangal in the recipe! I love both fennel and galangal, the soup sounds really, really great!

havecakewilltravel.com said...

I can't get enough of fennel, and putting it in a soup is pure genius, I'm tellin' ya.

deleilan said...

Darn, where did I put my soup-pounding rock? I really need to make this soup for dinner tonight!

(Oh, and soda bread for one = brilliance.)

Ruby Red Vegan said...

A SODA BREAD RECIPE FOR ONE! You are amazing! I love when you post fractioned recipes. :) This sound sounds awesome - it gets so boring when the only tastes American food has are sweet and salty. I like the sour and spicy components too! I love trying stuff that is "totally left field." It is super fun to surprise ze tastebuds.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

"This sound sounds awesome" -- oops, that's a typo. I meant SOUP, haha.

jessy said...

sour, sweet, 'n spicy?! yes please! my tummy would sooooo love that soup! now i just have to get over my fennel fear! ahahahaa! i've never had it before - and i'm such a chicken sh*t and STILL have yet to try it! i think it intimidates me or something. i need to get over this! ahahahaa! soda bread = a must make! thanks for the recipe! superw00t!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I've been looking at the fennel in the store and haven't ever tried it...this might change things! It looks like a delicious start to fennel appreciation.

Carrie said...

I love the idea of making soda bread for one person - thanks for the recipe!

pavotrouge said...

soda bread and fennel soup are great- but how do potatoes fit into a medieval meal?

Anonymous said...

I LOVE fennel, so I'm extremely excited to try this out!

Liz² said...

"soda bread and fennel soup are great- but how do potatoes fit into a medieval meal? "

do they not? I never even thought to check! As it happens, I picked the potatoes OUT of the leftovers and it tasted SO much better...so they must have been onto something. :)

Alice (in Veganland) said...

It looks like a perfect soup even though I'm not a big fan of fennel!

Jillian of Bitchin' Vegan Kitchen said...

I have copied so many medieval recipes down and never gotten around to making any! Ahh I should! All the recipes seem to use saffron, interesting. Yer sody bread is effing adorable btw :)

Heather said...

How many servings does that yummy-looking soup make?

Liz² said...

It's pretty light, so it could feed two not-so-hungry people if you had bread alongside.

Heather said...

Fantastic!
I love that you post recipes that's good for one hungry college student. :)