Fish Soup with Fennel

Fish Soup with Fennel 

Let me begin by saying this soup was gloriously successful! No false modesty here, and I have MH (the only liberal in the French village where she spends some of her time) to back up my claims. Described in The Soup Book as "rustic", "Mediterranean-style", "robustly flavoured" and "sure to please", the verdict in this house was that it was a great soup. The ingredients include fennel, garlic, leek, plum tomatoes, brandy, saffron, orange zest, bay leaf, fish stock, potatoes, white wine, mussels, monkfish (you can substitute another firm white fish) and tiger prawns, so it's something of a luxury and you should share it with friends.

As usual, the spouse trotted off last Saturday morning to do the shopping and obligingly went to his favourite fishmonger for the fish.  Then he walked down to Young Stephen's for the fennel - there's surely a tonguetwister there: Favourite Fishmonger is Fine for Fish but Fails on Fennel. In the meantime I headed along to our favourite wine seller to be advised on a dry white wine that would survive the cooking process and be quaffable. The main preparation work (chopping the fennel and tomatoes, crushing the garlic, slicing the leek and scrubbing and de-bearding the mussels) took well over the suggested ten minutes - and that was with the spouse on mussel duty.

Out came one of my big dekshees, on went the heat, and in went some oil and butter. Next in were the fennel, garlic and leek. When lightly browned and softened I stirred in the tomatoes and brandy. Delicious aromas wafted around. Making a quiet entrance into the mix were the saffron, orange zest, bay leaf (from my garden), fish stock (commercial, in case you were wondering), and potatoes. While this was simmering gently, I set about murdering the mussels in a separate pot. Eventually they and their fellow marine animals joined the vegetable matter in the dekshee. MH arrived just in time and we sat down to feast on this glorious soup. Definitely to be made again.

I had hoped to include some photos with this blog, but the hunt for the connector is in progress.

Until next time ...


P.S.  Two weeks later (5th December, 2011).At last, the spouse found the camera connector and I am inserting my photos.

Mussels await their fate
Fennel and tomato simmering away in my dekshee
The completed fish and fennel soup



  1. It was indeed a wonderful soup....worth the price of the slur which I shall overlook....I am actually one of three liberals in the village! Vive La France!


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