I rather think all soups should have some sort of solids in them. A big bowl of soup can be one of the most tedious things on this planet to eat. The first two mouthfuls are delicious. The next two comfort. At a push the two after that, at least when accompanied by buttered bread, can keep you interested. And then that’s it. The rest of the damn thing is a slog. Mouthful after repetitive mouthful of wet baby food.
Add something to bite, however, and soup becomes altogether more exciting. At the bottom end of things croutons serve this purpose, though it’s hard to woo-hoo over chunks of stale, oily toast. Brown shrimps up the game I think. Serve this hot or cold with bread and butter. Vegetarians can of course omit the shrimp.
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
A small head of fennel, trimmed and chopped
A splash of white wine (ignore snobs who say don’t cook with it if you wouldn’t drink it)
Stock – chicken or vegetable
100g brown shrimp
Olive oil and lemon juice
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium-low heat and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until soft. About 7 minutes.
- Add the spud, fennel seed, fennel and white wine and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring now and then. Add stock until the vegetables are just covered, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Blitz thoroughly. Pass through a sieve if you like.
- Serve with brown shrimp, dill, a squeeze of lemon and a flick of olive oil.