Fenkel in Soppes

Take blades of fenkel; shrede hem not to smale.  Do hem to seeth in water and oile, and oynouns mynced therewith.  Do thereto safroun and salt and powdour douce.  Serve it forth.  Take brede ytosted and lay the sewe onoward. (Forme of Cury)

Take blades of fennel and chop them, not too small.  Boil them in water and oil, and minced onions as well.  Add saffron and salt and powder douce.  Serve it forth.  Take toasted bread and pour the soup in it.

(It was customary in the Middle Ages to serve soup over chunks of toasted bread, which then served to sop up the liquid.  This type of dish became known as sops, whence we get the modern word ‘soup.’)

1 bunch fennel
2 medium onions, minched
4 cups water (or more or less, to taste and circumstance)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp each ground ginger and pepper
1 tsp salt
pinch saffron
bread, toasted, for sops

Cut the white part of the fennel into shreds – about 1 inch by 1/2 inch.  Save green feathery tips for salad or other uses.  Heat oil in a heavy pot.  Add onions and fennel and stir over low heat until they are slightly wilted, but not browned.  Add ater and seasonings and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.  Place a slice of toast in each bowl and pour the soup over the toast.

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