Soup is traditionally a cold-weather staple, but not this vegetable stew. Ingredients that can be found right in the garden or farmers’ market add a nice summer charm that marries well with the creamy polenta. Seconds are sure to be requested around the dinner table.
- 1 fennel bulb with stalks (about ½ pound)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 (14 ½ ounce) can Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups baby carrots, halved lengthwise
- 1 ½ cups green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces (about ½ lb)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- Parmesan Polenta Rounds (see below)
- ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
Directions for the soup:
- Rinse fennel thoroughly trim and reserve fronds.
- Mince fronds, reserving 1 tablespoon.
- Trim tough outer leaves and discard.
- Cut bulb in half lengthwise, and discard core.
- Cut bulb crosswise into ¼ inch slices, set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or over medium heat; add fennel slices and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in broth, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, thyme and pepper.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat and cover to let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in peas and reserved fennel fronds, cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Ladle ¼ cups stew into each of 4 bowls and top with Parmesan Polenta Rounds.
- Sprinkle evenly.
Parmesan Polenta Rounds ingredients:
- 1 (16 ounce) tube of polenta
- Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
- 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
Directions for the polenta:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Cut the polenta evenly into eight slices.
- Next, coat both sides with cooking spray and place on baking sheet.
- Sprinkle evenly with cheese.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.