Watch How to Cook Well at Christmas with Rory O'Connell Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd of December at 6.30pm on RTÉ One.

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 25g butter
  • Level teaspoon fennel seeds, roasted and finely ground
  • 110g onions, peeled and diced
  • 140g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 120g leek, washed and sliced
  • 350g celery finely, finely sliced
  • 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock, boiling
  • Creamy milk, i.e. milk and cream mixed in equal proportion
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Croutons

  • 6 large of 12 small slices of baguette, toasted or fried in olive oil until golden
  • 75g cashel blue cheese
  • 25g dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped dill
  • To serve
  • A drizzle of cream
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and allow to foam. Add the ground fennel, onion, potato, leek and celery and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything in the butter and cover with a disc of grease-proof paper and the saucepan lid.
  2. Cook over a very gentle heat for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are starting to break down slightly. Add in the hot stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the vegetables are all completely tender.
  3. Puree immediately with a hand held blender or liquidizer to achieve a smooth consistency. Correct the thickness of the soup with a little creamy milk. Taste and correct seasoning.
  4. Mash the blue cheese with the cream and add the cranberries and dill. Butter the croutons with this mixture.
  5. Reheat the soup. Serve in heated bowls, garnished with a drizzle of cream and a pinch of dill.
  6. Pass the croutons separately.