Funny story about that though. Growing up, fennel seeds were a household staple in any Indian home. You leave an Indian restaurant and there would be the fennel seeds, waiting for you to chomp away. Unless they were completely covered in sugar, there was no way fennel was getting anywhere near me or my digestive system. Fast forward to 1 year ago, and I'm in love. Many say that fennel is an acquired taste, and I'll have to agree. I still prefer the actual plant over the dried seeds, but even then, the seeds are growing on me.
From a medicinal purpose, fennel has so many benefits. It helps in digestion, it's great for the adrenals and kidneys, and can even make a great tea for lactating mothers. Amazing. Even leeks are phenomenal little veggies. With a slight milder flavor than the onion itself, the leaves and the fronds are packed with fiber--a super bonus for the digestive tract. Cooked leeks also help stimulate the digestive/metabolic fire--another point for this beauty.
From a cooking perspective, I love soups. They're super easy to make, and it's a great way to get a bunch of veggies into one dish without anyone even knowing. Fennel and Leek soup is one of my go-tos for almost any time of year. Depending on what you add, it can be a great hearty soup for the fall or winter, or something light and refreshing as we transition from the summer to autumn.
Give this soup a try the next time you're looking for a simple meal to make.
- 1- 1 1/2 bulbs of fennel (depending on size of bulb), chopped
- 1 leek, chopped (including the greens)
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp whole green moong beans
- 2-3 tbsp basmati rice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- dash of pepper
- Melt the butter and ghee in a stockpot
- Once the butter or ghee is hot, add in the bay leaves and cumin seeds, and wait for the seeds to start sizzling and popping
- Throw in the leeks, and saute thoroughly until the leeks are softened, and the color of the greens becomes this beautiful vibrant green
- Add in the vegetable stock, fennel, moong beans, and rice; bring the stock to a boil, and then lower the temp to about medium to let the veggies simmer in the stock
- Let the veggies cook in the stock for anywhere between 30-40 minutes
- Once the veggies have cooked completely, find the bay leaves and remove them
- Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, completely blend the soup together
- Add in the salt and pepper, and mix completely, adjusting to taste
- Serve warm with a slice of bread or tortilla and enjoy!