Leeks, fennel, and carrots flavor this elegant soup, which is seasoned with a little saffron to enhance the vibrant color. Use chicken stock or more vegetarian-friendly vegetable broth.
2tablespoons canola oil2leeks, halved and thinly sliced1small onion, thinly sliced3cloves garlic, thinly sliced1medium bulb fresh fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced2½pounds carrots, cut into thin disksSalt and pepper, to taste½teaspoon saffron½cup white wine4cups chicken stock or vegetable broth4cups water2cups half-and-half½cup creme fraiche (for sprinkling)2tablespoons chopped chives
1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the leeks, onion, garlic, fennel, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 12 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
2. Add the saffron and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
3. Pour in the wine and let the mixture bubble rapidly until it is reduced by half. Add chicken stock or vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are all tender.
4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Meanwhile, in the pot, heat the half-and-half until hot. Return the soup to the pot. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with creme fraiche and chives. Karoline Boehm Goodnick