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Tomato-Lemon Soup with Fennel

Posted Mar 09 2011 12:00am

“My greatest strength is… common sense. I’m really a standard brand – like Campbell’s tomato soup or Baker’s chocolate.” ~ Katharine Hepburn, American actress (1907 – 2003)

A standard on the Mediterranean table, Tomato-Lemon soup has as many variations as there are soup pots. Some contain eggs, some rice, some orzo… and some, like this one, include fennel.

If you have never bought fennel before, you have probably at least noticed it in the produce department at the grocery store. Sometimes it is labeled “anise” because they are very similar in flavor, but true anise does not have the beautiful white bulb that makes it look a little like pregnant celery.

Fennel has a sweet, clean flavor with a hint of licorice, and contains vitamin C, calcium, fiber, iron and protein. The entire plant can be used but most recipes include just the bulb or seeds. Save any parts you don’t immediately use and include them in a light stir-fry or homemade vegetable broth. The fresh fronds (leaves) make a beautiful garnish.

This soup, with the combination of lemon and fennel, is lighter than most tomato soups and is perfect for this weather that can’t seem to decide between winter and spring.

Tomato-Lemon Soup with Fennel
Makes 5 cups
Time: 20 minutes

1 cup finely chopped Fennel bulb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup mild tasting vegetable broth
¼ cup lemon juice
Fennel fronds and lemon slices to garnish
Croutons (optional)

Lightly sauté the chopped fennel in olive oil over medium heat until tender crisp, being careful that it doesn’t brown. Stir in the tomatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and remove from heat.

Garnish with chopped fennel fronds (leaves), a small slice of lemon, and croutons (page 109 in the Mosaic Meals cookbook ). Serve while hot.

While you are sipping on some bright red Tomato-Lemon Soup with Fennel, consider visiting Rock the Red Pump to learn about tomorrow’s National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

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