This unusual soup has a slight licorice flavour that is more pronounced when served chilled. If you can find baby fennel you will need three bulbs. Shave off a few shards to use as a garnish. The bigger fennel is not tender or pretty enough to use for that (in which case, basil is an attractive option).
Ready time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped young, white turnips
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
4 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound (500 grams) fava beans, shelled, blanched, outer skin removed
2 tablespoons sliced basil
Heat oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add onions, fennel and turnips and sauté for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Stir in fennel seeds. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 17 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Season with salt and pepper. Puree in food processor or blender. Return to heat and add fava beans. Simmer for 2 minutes then scatter with basil.