Rustic Tomato Soup with Caramalized Fennel

Sorry for the silence treatment. I've been busy with my little one and eating this Chocolate Cake. This is the first time ever I make this kind of Tomato Soup. I've done Mexican Chicken Soups, Minestrone and so forth but never a classic Tomato Soup. Talk about me/us missing out! This soup was seriously delicious, the flavours were just PERFECTLY balanced. It was a bit work to make it, but totally worth the effort. Our tastebuds were very happy. With this kind of soup you definetly need crunchy garlic bread on the side to dip into the soup and to give the meal some texture...simply mouthwatering! This portion is enough for 2-3 people.
  • 1 fennel, sliced
  • 4 heapfull spoons of tomato paste
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 400 g canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dry thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 chicken breasts, diced 
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
Crunchy Garlic Bread:
  • Baguette, cut into slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
How to:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°
  2. Cut top of the garlic head, place on foil and drizzle olive oil and salt on top and wrap the foil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the garlic is golden brown. Let cool. 
  3. While the garlic is roasting, start caramelizing the fennel with some olive oil and salt on medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes. Make sure you stir every 5 minutes so the fennel doesn't burn.
  4. Add the tomato paste and roasted garlic cloves (squeeze out of the shell) and cook for 6-7 minutes, the mix should be very fragrant. Then add the stock, parsley, raw chicken and water and turn the heat dowm to a simmer and let the soup bubble for about 20 minutes. By adding the chicken raw and letting it cook in the soup makes it very tender and tasty.
  5. Meanwhile, make the garlic bread. Preheat the oven to 200°. In a bowl, mix together the pressed garlic and olive oil and brush on top of the baguette slices . Top with a little parsley. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Don't throw away the garlic oil leftover, instead, pour it into the soup.
  6. Puree the soup (if desired, I prefer it that way)  until smooth. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  7. Top with parsley and serve with garlic bread.
If you want to make this dish vegeterian, simply skip the chicken and you have yourself a dish for Meatfree Monday!

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