Yield
Serves 6
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (below), chicken stock (below), or water 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons anise-flavored liqueur, such as sambuca, ouzo, or Pernod 
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

1. Toast the anise seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and coarsely grind.

2. In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and anise seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. In batches, purée the soup in a blender until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes for each batch. Strain the purée through a fine-mesh strainer into a pot and season with salt and pepper. Place over medium heat, stir in the cream, and heat until hot. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the anise-flavored liqueur and season with salt and pepper.

4. In a bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and remaining liqueur and season with salt. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Drizzle with the crème fraîche and sprinkle with the chives.

Vegetable Stock
Makes 8 to 12 cups

  • 10 cups chopped vegetables or vegetable trimmings, such as onions, leeks, carrots, celery, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, green beans, squashes, garlic, fennel, eggplant, cabbage, and greens
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 12 flat-leaf parsley sprigs 
  • 3 thyme sprigs, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

1. In a large stockpot, combine the vegetables, onion, carrots, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Add water to cover by 3 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the stock smells good and has a good flavor, about 45 minutes. As the level of the liquid decreases in the pot, replenish it with water to maintain the original level.

2. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. If not using immediately, let cool, then transfer to 1 or more airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Chicken Stock
Makes 8 to 12 cups

  • 5 pounds chicken parts, such as backs, necks, and wings, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 12 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

1. In a large stockpot, combine the chicken, onion, carrot, parsley stems, thyme, and bay leaves. Add water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer gently, skimming as needed, until the meat is falling off the bone and the stock tastes very rich, 5 to 6 hours. As the level of the liquid decreases in the pot, replenish it with water to maintain the original level.

2. Scoop out and discard the larger pieces with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. If using immediately, use a large metal spoon to skim off as much of the fat from the surface as possible. If not using immediately, let it cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, using a spoon, lift off and discard the fat that solidifies on the surface. Transfer the stock to 1 or more airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

From Kitchen Gypsy by Joanne Weir, Oxmoor House 2015.