When buying fennel, check the root ends to make sure they are freshly cut. And if you plan to slice your fennel ahead of using it, dunk it in acidulated water to keep it from turning gray. You will have extra pickles and sauce when you use up this soup. Put the former on a cheese plate and use the later drizzled over grilled fish.

Makes 2 quarts soup, 2 cups pickles and 1 cup sauce


4 cups chicken stock

3 medium leeks, white and light green parts sliced and washed, dark green parts reserved

4 tablespoons butter

Fennel – bulb, stalks and leaves – prepped for the soup, which is served chilled.

3 whole medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and roughly chopped

½ teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted

2 garlic cloves, sliced



1-2 tablespoons Pernod, Ricard and Sambuca liqueur, optional


2 cups thinly sliced fennel stalks

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Zest of 1 lemon, removed from fruit in wide strips

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

10 coriander seeds, crushed

10 black peppercorns, crushed


1/2 cup chopped fennel fronds

A concoction including vinegar, honey, lemon zest and coriander is poured over the sliced fennel stalks. Once it is cooled and refrigerated overnight – voila – you have fennel pickles.

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped tarragon

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Good pinch of red chili pepper flakes



To make the soup, simmer 3 cups of water, the stock and the dark green parts of the leeks in a medium saucepan over low heat for 20 minutes. Strain. Save the chicken-and-leek stock and compost the leek tops.

In a Dutch oven over medium low heat, melt the butter and add the white and light green parts of the leek, fennel bulbs, fennel seeds, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved chicken-and-leek stock and simmer for 20 minutes more. Using either a hand or a stand blender, puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill overnight. Add salt to taste and stir in liqueur, if using.

To make the pickles, place sliced fennel stalks into a quart mason jar. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water, the vinegar, honey, zest, fennel and coriander seeds and black pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into the jar over the fennel. Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the sauce, combine the fennel fronds, parsley, tarragon, scallions, olive oil, lemon juice and chili pepper flakes in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit 30 minutes before serving.

To serve, ladle the chilled soup into bowls, swirl in a spoonful of sauce and garnish with pickled fennel stalks.

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