I’ve never had the opportunity to eat in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant (Santa, are you listening?), but I do own a few of his cookbooks, and while I’m not a rabid fan of his TV shows, I’ve enjoyed a few episodes over the years. I know lots of people hate the guy, or at least the personality he puts forth on TV, as he berates contestants on Hell’s Kitchen or The F Word, but I have to say that I appreciate his approach to cooking.
He may be an challenge to work with, but his application of classical technique to the very best ingredients he can find, and his ability to conjure bold, yet approachable flavors for his guests, has earned him a spot among the very best chefs in the world. I’m a fan.
Many of his recipes in my collection rival Thomas Keller’s in their complexity, and leave me panting for breath and exhausted after just reading them, let alone cooking them. Others however, like this simple and delicious soup, can be pulled together quickly and offer a very refined, yet bold offering easy enough for a weeknight meal, but special enough for company.
This soup is a breeze to put together, and as long as you have a decent blender, will present as a silky smooth treat. You’ll swear that its drowning in cream, but will rejoice in the fact that it doesn’t have a drop. Dig just below the surface of this liquid gem to uncover spicy little sausage bombs, and wholesome chickpeas that give the soup a textural complexity. The fennel and chickpea base freezes beautifully, so make a double batch. Cook the chorizo fresh each time you want to serve the soup, that way you’ve got nicely caramelized bites, and a fresh batch of spicy oil with which you can drizzle on top.
Cheers – Steve
Fennel and Chorizo Soup
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 6 fennel bulbs, trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 celery ribs, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 14 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
- 1 pound chorizo sausages, finely sliced
- Fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped for garnish
- Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Add the fennel, celery and garlic, and sweat for 5 minutes over a medium-low heat until softened but not coloured.
- Add the stock, ground coriander, bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add about 1/3 of the can of chickpeas to the pot and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaves and let cool slightly. Whiz the soup in a blender until velvety smooth, then return to the pan. Add the balance of the chickpeas and heat through gently, stirring occasionally. Check the seasoning for salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and fry the sausage slices for 3-4 minutes until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, reserving the oil in the pan (as you pan-fry the sausage, it oozes a colourful, spicy oil – perfect to drizzle over the finished soup).
- Place the sausage slices around the edges of warmed soup bowls. Ladle the soup into the middle, scatter with the chopped cilantro leaves and drizzle with the reserved spicy oil. Serve immediately.