This sensational recipe is from the Green Kitchen at Home cookbook, one of my favourite books that I turn to for cooking inspiration. It does take quite a long time to prepare but it is absolutely delicious and well worth the effort. I have tweaked it slightly and added a vegan aioli recipe that uses aquafaba, but if you are not vegan then go ahead and make aioli with eggs. The fabulous aniseed and fennel flavour makes it taste just like the real thing. I served ours with toasted ciabatta bread that I cut lengthways, rubbed with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and minced garlic and bake in the oven for 10mins to crisp up. Totally delicious
500ml vegetable stock
1 tsp saffron
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp aniseeds
2 purple carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced thickly
2 orange carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced thickly
2 parsnips, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced thickly
1 small swede, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and largely diced
1½ bulbs of fennel, chopped – keep the green leafy part for serving
250ml white wine
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 sheet of nori, crushed
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
sea salt and black pepper
1 x 400g cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1½ bulbs of fennel, stalks removed and sliced into 1cm slices trying to keep the core so the slices intact
Olive oil for brushing
Sea salt & black pepper
For the Aioli
3 tbsp aquafaba – liquid drained from a can of chickpeas
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp Dijon Mustard
½ tsp Salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup rapeseed oil
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Fresh thyme leaves
Roughly chopped fennel fronds and parsley
1 orange for zest
Sea Salt & Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200c and line a baking tray with parchment paper
Make up 500ml vegetable using boiling water from a kettle, add the saffron and leave to infuse
In a large heavy based pan pour the oil and heat gently. Add the onions, garlic and seeds and cook until soft approximately 8mins
Then add the vegetables to the pan and sauté for a further 5mins
Pour in the wine and when evaporated add the stock and saffron, tinned tomatoes, nori and thyme. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 45-60mins
Stir occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan
You may need to add more stock or water to loosen
While this is cooking lay the fennel onto the baking sheet and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt
Place in the oven and cook for 20-30mins until tender and caramlised.
Now make the aioli.
Add the aquafaba, vinegar, mustard and salt to a bowl and combine with an electric whisk.
Keep the whisk going and very slowly drizzle in the oil, making sure it is fully combines as you go, if you do this too quickly it will go runny and not work.
It will begin to look like mayonnaise, thick.
Once the oil is combined add the lemon juice, garlic and seasoning. Taste and set aside
When you are ready to serve the soup, stir through the beans then spoon into bowls and decorate with the baked fennel, a good dollop of aioli and sprinkling of herbs and orange zest. Serve with the toasted ciabatta.