I firmly believe that like Luke Skywalker and The Force, absinthe was destined for this recipe. Normally, I add a bit of white wine or lemon juice when making soup to balance the flavors. But here, the acidity they add only makes the soup taste like tin foil. In contrast, the cool smooth absinthe transforms this velvety soup, making it crisp and bright while still managing to stay rich and warming. Recipe after the jump.
Absinthe and Fennel Soup
2 TBS Butter
2 Fennel Bulbs, ends trimmed, sliced very thin and fronds reserved for a garnish
2 Onions, sliced very thin
1/2 cup Absinthe
3 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper, or to taste
Fennel Fronds, to garnish
1. In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon until nice and brown. Remove to a paper towel to drain for later use.
2. Carefully spoon all but about 1 TBS of the bacon fat out of the skillet, add in the butter and melt over medium-low heat.
3. Add in the sliced onions, fennel and salt and cook until translucent. Do not brown.
4. When the onions and fennel are translucent, turn the heat up to medium and deglaze the pan by pouring in the absinthe and loosening anything stuck to the bottom with a spoon.
5. Add half of the stock cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the onions and fennel are soft.
6. Using a ladle, remove the mixture to a blender and puree until very smooth. Be very careful not to burn yourself when doing this.
7. Pour the mixture into a soup pan; add in the remaining stock and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
8. To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with the chopped bacon and a fennel frond or two.
See the full “Cooking With Absinthe” story, including all of the other recipes in the March/April #10 issue of Mutineer Magazine.