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A Local Thanksgiving

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Ken Migliorelli, Migliorelli Farm  

Dairyless Local-Fennel Soup

THE CHEF:
Dan Barber
(Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns)
Instead of the traditional pumpkin or squash soup, Dan Barber prefers the anise-flavored fennel. “It’s so silky and rich, you don’t need to add dairy,” he says. “Which means it’s hearty without being filling, so you can enjoy the rest of the meal.” Barber has experimented with many varieties for flavor, but Ken Migliorelli’s oversize bulbs, he’s says, “are the sweetest.”

THE FARMER:
Ken Migliorelli
(Migliorelli Farm) Tivoli; 845-757-3276 or migliorelli.com
Ken Migliorelli comes from a family of Italian farmers—when his grandfather emigrated from Italy in the thirties, he brought broccoli-rabe seeds with him and planted them on his farm in the Bronx. That same strain of seed is now grown on Migliorelli’s farm in Dutchess County, which is one of the largest regional farms specializing in Italian products—broccoli rabe, arugula, and dandelion, among 140 other items. “The fennel’s grown in a sandy loam soil,” says Migliorelli. “That’s what makes it sweet.”

THE RECIPE:
VEGETABLE STOCK
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cups medium-diced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup medium-diced leeks
1/2 cup medium-diced carrots
3 1/4 cups medium-diced fennel
Salt
1/8 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1/2 head garlic

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and a pinch of salt, and sweat over low heat. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, garlic, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 50 minutes. Strain and chill.

FENNEL SOUP
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 small shallots, minced
3 1/2 cups diced fennel, white part only, reserving green fronds for garnish
1 apple, peeled and diced
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups vegetable stock (recipe above)
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and shallots, and sweat until translucent. Add the fennel and apple, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes before adding the fennel seeds and stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a blender and purée, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Return to saucepan and heat gently. Garnish with fennel fronds.


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