duck soup with fennel


Here in the New Mexico desert, Florence fennel only forms a bulb in its first year. It survives as a perennial plant, but only produces skinny stalks that bolt quickly to go to seed. Younger stalks can still be used in the kitchen. By the time the flowers screens are showing, the stalks become too woody and the flavor changes unpleasantly. But you can harvest the seeds to use in the kitchen, or to start new plants that hopefully will bulb in their first year.

Fennel is the one vegetable that I prefer to use without any competition. Its anise flavor can be intense when used alone, but can easily be overwhelmed by other flavors. I cooked the skin and defleshed carcass of a duck with skinny fennel stems for a delicious soup.


This is what you need for 8+ quarts:

  • 1 duck carcass and leftovers
  • 2 lb. homegrown skinny fennel
  • S&P
  • optional: heavy cream
Pic1: duck soup with fennel & cream



Pic2: duck and skinny fennel stalks, ready for the oven
Pic3: boiling that same duck's carcass with fennel


The skinny stalks shown in these pictures are not pleasant to eat because of the many woody fibers. Remove all the unpleasantness and intensify the fennel flavor considerably to make a very fine soup indeed. See also Fennel Soup 

Serving suggestion: