Butternut squash, broccoli-cheddar and simple barley soups may be all the rage once the cool weather settles in, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to the tried-and-true classics all season long. This fall, cozy up to a piping-hot bowl featuring creative twists on the usual favorites, like Food Network Magazine’s Potato-Fennel Soup (pictured above).
This potato-based soup can be on the table in only 40 minutes, and it features leeks cooked three ways — boiled, broiled and sauteed — for the most flavor-forward results. After cooking potatoes with some of the leeks until tender, add broth and a splash of milk before pureeing the mixture in a blender. The secret to this soup lies in the from-scratch broth, made by quickly simmering leeks, fennel and water; using this instead of everyday water guarantees the most concentrated taste. If you’ve never before cooked with fennel, know that it has a subtle licorice-like flavor, but don’t worry: This decidedly savory soup doesn’t taste at all sweet.
While this warm and comforting bowl boasts a creamy feel, it’s made better for you with the addition of skim milk in place of heavy cream. (It’s the starch in the potatoes that naturally thickens the consistency of the soup and offers a smooth cream-like texture.) To serve, finish the soup with golden-brown roasted carrots and leeks, plus a sprinkle of fresh herbs, and offer slices of crunchy ricotta-smeared toast with each bowl.
Get the Recipe: Potato-Fennel Soup from Food Network Magazine