This is my favorite soup recipe. Ever. I discovered it in Vegetarian Times when I was a vegetarian and living in Boulder, CO (fitting, I know). But more than anything, this soup reminds me of snowy afternoons in Boston. A whole pot would feed me for a good five days. As a graduate student, I’d stock up on bread, butter, greens, coffee and milk, plenty of tea, and a chocolate bar and I could hibernate for quite some time. The smell of the fennel seeds cooking in olive oil brings me right back to my pink-tiled Brookline kitchen. I’d sit at the bay windows, looking out at elderly Russian women in vibrant silk scarves pushing their shopping carts back from the corner grocery store, and college kids with backpacks and arms of books racing to catch the bus. I’ll always equate the smell of this soup with that light-filled pink kitchen, fallen leaves whipping by the windows, and the fading Eastern afternoon light.
This soup is extremely easy. Essentially, you just simmer all of the ingredients in vegetable broth and process with an immersion blender or food processor at the very end. I like to serve it with warm whole-wheat pita, goat cheese or brie (Cowgirl Creamery’s triple cream is my new favorite), olives, and a little prosciutto.
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 1/4 lbs. carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (1 large or 2 medium)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
6 cups cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. long grain white rice
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. coriander
1 bay leaf
Fresh lemon juice
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Next, add sweet potatoes, carrots, and apple and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add broth, rice, curry powder, coriander, and bay leaf.
After all of the ingredients have been added, bring mixture to a very low boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and puree soup in batches in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.