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Fennel & Chorizo Soup

The seasons in the city vaguely hint at all the majesty behind what causes them and the buildings and business shield us from their full effects. Only when I go upstate to visit my hometown of Warwick, NY do I realize that something really magical is going on.

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It’s just past the onion harvest season and the miracle black dirt created by glaciers back in the days of yore, the dirt that provides NY state with more than 90% of all onions, has yielded its crop. I biked around this past weekend checking out the winter crops. Something about all of the onions brought fennel to my mind, and the chill in the air made me want to put it in a soup.

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This is a breeze to put together and if you have a hand blender it’s even easier, promising a silky smooth finish that you’d swear was full of heavy cream.  Not on your life! Without a drop of dairy this soup has more than meets the eye. Just below the surface of the liquid lie flavorful rubies of Spanish chorizo and chickpea pearls that give the soup textural complexity and lend it smoky flavor. The key here is to cook the chorizo fresh so that it renders its vibrant spicy oil to drizzle on top.

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Fennel Soup with Chorizo adapted from Oui Chef

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs, finely chopped
  • 1 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 14 oz low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 14 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
  • 1 pound chorizo sausages, finely sliced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped for garnish
  • hint of Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

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Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Add the fennel, celery and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes over a medium-low heat until softened. Add the stock, ground coriander, bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and keep it bubbling for about 30 mins. Add about 2/3 of the can of chickpeas to the pot and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves from the soup.  Using a hand blender or blender, blend until smooth. Add the rest of the chickpeas and heat through, stirring occasionally. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and sautee the sausage slices for 3-4 minutes until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, reserving the oil in the pan (as you pan-fry the sausage, it oozes a colorful, spicy oil – perfect to drizzle over the finished soup).

Place the sausage slices around the edges of warmed soup bowls. Ladle the soup into the middle, scatter with the chopped cilantro leaves and drizzle with the reserved spicy oil. Serve immediately.

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Fall Harvest of Onions from Pine Island

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