I cleaned out the old fennel patch in the walled garden today. These plants were starting to go to seed already. They don't have bulbs but they still taste good and will give the soup a delicate anise overtone. I used mostly the stems, although the leaves can be used as well.
If you don't want to give the steeped fennel to your chickens, you can make an opaque green soup with a more intense flavor by blending the fennel pieces. (see Fennel Soup recipe)
This is what you need for 2 quarts, 4 servings:
4 lb. fennel stems and leaves
Pic1: fennel stems
Pic2: fennel consommé
Fill the stock pot with fennel pieces and add water.
Use low heat to slowly bring to luke-warm (145 ºF) and keep it there for about 30 minutes.
Steeping the fennel slowly will produce a stronger anise flavor than a quick boil. The lower temperature releases sweeter flavor components while high heat releaser the more bitter ones.
You can obtain an even stronger anise flavor by steeping the fennel leaves overnight in cold water.
- add some bouillon to taste.
Don't overdo it because the fennel flavor is delicate and can easily be overpowered.
To get the clear consommé, strain of filter the liquid.
It will be so clear, that you don't need eggs to clarify further.
Enjoy warm or chilled.
This is also a refreshing drink for those hot Summer days.