This week’s soup started out as a chowder. It can still be considered one I guess, but my version of Chicken, Corn, and Fennel Soup with Curry is not as thick as what comes to mind when I think of chowder. But it’s just as good.
One of the things I’m enjoying most about this series is the chance to try ingredients I’m not that familiar with. This time, I’m working with fennel again. It’s one of those foods that I’ve come to lately, and the more I use and eat it, the more I like it. It’s available in most markets, but it might not be easy to find, especially if you’ve not seen it before. Here’s what you’re looking for.
In my supermarket, the sign says, “anise.” The code that comes up when you check out says “fennel/anise.” They’re related but not the same thing. In most dishes using fennel, it’s only the bulb that is used. The fronds and tough outer layer of the bulb are removed. The bulb has a core, like cabbage, which is removed. The fronds are most often used for garnish or discarded. The bulb can eaten raw, thinly sliced, especially in salads. I prefer the milder flavor of cooked fennel.
Back to this week’s soup, fennel is a supporting player to chicken, corn, and potatoes. I made roast chicken a couple nights before, so this was a good way to use up leftovers. If you don’t have leftover chicken, you can saute some chicken as the first step. Since I already had chicken, I sauteed some thinly sliced fennel in some 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter as the first step.
Because I originally planned to make this a thicker chowder, I added diced potatoes, which I added to the fennel and cooked briefly. I then added the chicken stock and water, and cooked until the fennel and potatoes were fork tender. I know I usually tell you all water or vegetable stock can be used to make a soup vegetarian, but since you’re using chicken, go for the chicken stock. Of course, you could leave out the chicken, but then you’d have to change the name of the recipe.
Stir in the curry powder. Now, a word of caution about curry powder. It’s not all the same. It can vary in ingredients and its degree of heat. You can make your own, and that’s something I hope to do someday. But it’ll take more research.
When the potatoes are fork-tender, puree if desired. Stir in the corn kernels and whole milk (if using). The addition of chopped pimento adds color and another level of taste, though not a strong one. I like to add it just before serving. That way, the temperature difference and texture adds another level of tactile experience to the soup.
Here’s the final product.
Even if you don’t think you like fennel, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. The fennel has a mild, but complementary, flavor to a tasty soup.
You can find the recipe here.© Copyright 2013 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook