The best broth you will ever make: fennel broth (for free!)

I had pile of leek greens and fennel stalks and fronds I really didn’t know what to do with.

I saved the scraps in the freezer and to be honest I did think they would sit there for a year and freezer burn before I got around to making a vegetable stock. I find that most vegetable broths do not have enough *essence* to stand alone as its own soup. Usually they are ok for adding to risottos or flavouring a pot of beans or stew.
That is exactly where I thought this fennel broth would end up- I had a bit of the fennel broth in a measuring cup ready to go into a white bean stew when my neighbour dropped by. Simmering the broth made the house incredibly aromatic so she came into the kitchen right away to see what I was up too. “What is that?” she said. “fennel broth, try it”. She did. I think she said “oh my goodness”. or “that’s incredible”. or maybe it was ‘Mmmm’. Something along the lines of: This is the best broth you will ever make.

Here is the recipe, exactly as I made it:

FENNEL BROTH (the best vegetable broth you will ever make)

      (makes 2L)

 

      *Fennel, stalks and fronds from 3 bulbs, chopped

 

      *Leek greens from 2 leeks, plus one leek, chopped

 

      *a couple of celery ribs, chopped

 

      *1 small potato, chopped (i used an idaho and left the skin on)

 

      *a handful of golden beet slices

 

      *a handful of thyme sprigs

 

      *1/2 cup of verjus (or white wine, or vermouth)

 

      *10 black peppercorns

 

      *Pinch of salt

 

      *Water to cover by at least 2 inches (I used 10 cups)

Roughly chop the fennel stalks, leek, celery and potato and saute in a bit of olive oil. Add in the verjus or wine and let bubble and reduce until 1/4 remains. Add water to cover by at least 2 inches (I used 10 cups). Add thyme, salt, peppercorns. Simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Strain broth, let cool and store up to 4 days in the fridge or freeze.

Here is our tortellini soup, with fennel broth. Served on a rainy night with a warm baguette and cheese.

I imagine fennel broth would make an amazing vichyssoise. or straciatella. Try it in your risotto or white bean ragout.

P.S. What the heck is a beet doing in a broth? I can’t be sure! It might have been the magical ingredient. I had beet slices left over from making beet chips and figured why not? later to find out that root veggies make their way into quite a few veggie broths on the internet all labelled “the best broth”. For this reason- Keep your vegetable ends in a bag in the freezer. They can last in there for about 3 months without loosing too much flavour. You never know what amazing combinations will suddenly turn to the world’s best broth. Best of all these vegetable broth experiments are pretty much free!

Thank you to Higher Ground Organics for sharing their fennel broth recipe that inspired this one. They used fennel, pernod, wine and herbs.

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2 Comments to “The best broth you will ever make: fennel broth (for free!)”

  1. Wow, I have bookmarked this. I’m good with brown stock and chicken stock, but I’ve been thinking that my ‘soup packs’ in the freezer could also go into a veggie stock–if I could find something for that missing oomph. I love fennel in spaghetti sauce–even buy it if I don’t get any in the farm share–so I will definitely try this. At home.

    Thanks!

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