This time last year I shared one of my favorite fall soups with you. A year later I'm revisiting this same recipe with even simpler instructions. The great thing about this recipe if you read ahead, is that you can time the various cooking components to happen simultaneously. While you're browning onions in the skillet your stock can be heating and your veggies roasting in the oven. Take a few minutes to prep, and the multiple steps in this recipes will quickly fly by.
What I enjoy most about this flavorful soup is the way the bright color and savory flavors really capture the bright crispness of the changing season. I garnish each serving with feta and fried sage to up the autumn-cozy element.
Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper, and Fennel Soup:
1 32 oz carton of your choice of stock (I prefer chicken stock)
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion
7 cloves of garlic
5 stalks of celery
4-5 red tomatoes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 small fennel bulb
red pepper flakes
fresh sage (2 leaves per serving)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour stock into a large stock pot and add celery leaves and chopped fennel leaves to the stock. Cover and stir occasionally.
Add 2 tbsp butter to a skillet.
Turn skillet to low/medium heat.
Peel and chop the onion, three cloves of garlic, and celery stalks, add to skillet.
Stir occasionally until the mixture is translucent and beginning to brown. Allowing the onion mixture to brown a little adds a deeper flavor profile to the soup.
Season the mixture with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and a dash of cayenne pepper.
Add the cooked mixture to the stock and recover, continuing to cook on low heat.
Line a baking pan with foil and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
Wash and core the larger tomatoes (leave smaller tomatoes un-cored, just remove leaves and stems), add to baking pan whole.
Wash and core the red pepper, add to baking pan whole.
Wash and thinly slice the fennel, add to baking pan.
Peel remaining four garlic cloves, add to baking pan whole.
Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over vegetables.
Top vegetables with thin slices of the remaining 1 tbsp of butter.
Season lightly with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Cover the pan with another layer of foil and bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes checking frequently.
The vegetables are done roasting with the skin on the tomatoes has split, the juices have released into the bottom of the pan, and the red pepper's skin is beginning to blister and blacken. This can take 30-60 minutes, so you'll want to watch the vegetables closely.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes.
Carefully transfer the roasted red pepper to a cutting board. Remove the peeled and charred skin with a fork and discard. Add the soft remains to the stock mixture.
Carefully transfer the remaining items into the stock including the released juices from the bottom of the pan.
Carefully transfer your soup to the blender a few cups at a time. Blend briefly and pour blended mixture into a new large container or bowl. Continue until all soup is blended.
Temper the 1/2 cup of milk with a 1/2 cup of hot soup using a whisk. Add to large soup container and whisk until blended into the soup.
Taste your soup here and adjust any seasonings as needed to your desired taste.
Wash and thinly slice the fresh sage leaves. Pat dry with paper towel.
Add a drizzle of olive oil to the same skillet you used before.
Turn skillet to low/medium and add in the sage leaves.
Flip leaves to brown and fry each side.
Remove from heat and transfer to paper towel.
Portion soup into bowls. Sprinkle feta on top, and garnish with a fried sage leaves.