French Tomato Soup - with fennel and orange

French Tomato Soup - with fennel and orange

FRENCH TOMATO SOUP, with its acidic tomatoes, can pick up a metallic taste when cooked in seasoned cast iron. To avoid that, this soup is started in a cast-iron pan, then transferred to a blender (or, use an enamelled cast-iron pan and skip the blender).


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small baguette, torn into bite-size pieces


1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 fennel bulb, cored and roughly chopped, fronds reserved for garnish

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

3 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons butter

Juice and zest of 1 small orange

4 small tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Freshly ground black pepper

Makes four 1-cup servings

1 Arrange a wire rack over a baking sheet.

2 Melt the unsalted butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the torn bread and cook until browned, turning frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon and season immediately with salt

Reserve until the soup is ready.

3 Wipe out the Dutch oven, leaving a bit of oil behind, and set aside.

4 In a food processor, coarsely chop the onion, fennel, carrots, and garlic.

5 Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the onion mixture and thyme, and cook until soft, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth and butter and bring to a simmer.

6 Wipe out the work bowl of the food processor and carefully ladle the mixture back into it. Add the orange juice and half of the orange zest, rough-chopped tomatoes, and crushed tomatoes. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7 Serve garnished with a few croutons, fennel fronds, and the remaining orange zest.

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