Make-Ahead Bouillabaisse

Make-Ahead Bouillabaisse is my loose adaption of the classic French Provencal stew that’ comprised of seafood and vegetables in a delicious saffron- infused broth. Since I often don’t have much time on week nights, I wanted to create a stew that could be partially made ahead of time. This  recipe is broken into three different steps and first two steps can be completed in advance. Thus, on the night that you’re ready to serve the stew you simply add a few finishing touches and it’s ready to enjoy in a matter of minutes. Of course, you can also just prepare and enjoy the stew on the same day- it’s up to you  how many steps you’d like to complete at a time. Making the broth is the first step of preparing the bouillabaisse and it’s the most time  consuming part  since there’s quite a bit of chopping involved. It’s worth the effort thought, since the broth is  where all the flavor is added! To make the richly flavored broth, a combination of carrots, fennel, tomatoes, spices, fresh herbs and more, are slowly simmered until tender and then pureed until smooth. Once the broth is prepared, the remainder of the recipe is a breeze. Step two for the bouillabaisse is to add some delicious vegetables to the stew. Simply toss in a few  vegetables like squash and artichoke hearts into the broth and then simmer until tender. The third and final step for the stew  is to add in the finishing touches! While bouillabaisse does typically contain seafood, for this recipe, you can choose exactly what you want to add in whether it’s seafood or a vegetarian option like beans. No matter what you add in, the spectacular stew, inspired by this recipe from Amanda Berne, will be a delight to enjoy!

Make Ahead Bouillabaisse
Gluten Free
Serves Four (Approximately Two Cups Per Serving)

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Step One:
Making the Saffron Vegetable Broth
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Ingredients:
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 leek
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, adjust according to taste
1 cup white wine 
1 large pinch  of saffron
1 bulb of fennel, divided (Half will be used in the broth and half will be added later to the soup)
2 celery stalks
5 ounces turnip root
1 carrot
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, lightly drained
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fennel fronds, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon double concentrated tomato paste (like the kind by Amore)
2 teaspoons orange zest
3.5 cups vegetable broth (check for gluten)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1. There’s a lot of ingredients in the broth so it really helps to have the vegetables prepped before beginning--

Leek: Trim off the root and dark green end, then halve lengthwise. Cut in half again so you’re left with 4 pieces. Chop into small pieces, then place in a small colander and rinse thoroughly under running water, using your hands to shake off any excess dirt.
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Garlic: Mince with a knife or have garlic press ready to mince directly into pot.
Fennel: Cut off fennel fronds and reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the fronds to add to the broth. Cut off root end of fennel bulb, then halve fennel lengthwise. Core the fennel, then thinly slice each half, setting aside one half to be added later to the soup base.
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Celery: Thinly slice both stalks into small pieces.
Turnip Root & Carrot: Peel both vegetables, then chop into small pieces.
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Tomatoes: Lightly drain & measure
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2.  Once ingredients are prepped, add olive oil to a large soup pot and heat to medium low. Add leek, garlic, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and crushed red pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until leek is beginning to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
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3.  Crumble saffron lightly between your fingers, then add to wine.  Set aside until ready to add to broth.

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4. Raise heat to medium, then add 1/2 of the fennel, celery, turnip root, carrot, and diced tomatoes to soup pot.  Add fresh herbs (thyme, fennel fronds, and rosemary) and stir to combine all ingredients. Sauté vegetables for 5-6 minutes, or until turnip and carrot can be pierced with a fork. Stir in tomato paste and cook for about 30 seconds more. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste.

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5. Add orange  zest, vegetable broth, and saffron/wine mixture to soup pot.  Raise heat to medium high and bring broth to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium- low and simmer broth, uncovered,  for 20-22 minutes or until vegetables are softened and easily pierced with a fork.
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6. Once vegetables are tender, remove pot from heat. Use an immersion blender to puree broth until smooth (sometimes it helps to tilt the pot so you can puree the vegetables at the bottom).
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7. At this point the broth is finished, you can choose to go ahead and complete step #2 (adding the vegetables), or if you’re short on time, simply transfer broth to a jar or container. Let uncovered container cool completely on a cooling rack, then top with lid once cool. Store broth in the refrigerator, up to 3 days, until you are ready to finish the soup. 


Step Two:
Simmering the Vegetables for the Soup
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Ingredients:
1/2 cup canned, quartered artichoke hearts, sliced lengthwise in thin pieces
6 ounces baby creamer potatoes (about 1 cup), halved
1 carrot, peeled and choppd
6 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded & diced (about 1 cup once diced)
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (reserved from broth)
1.5 cups vegetable broth
Salt & Pepper

1. Once vegetables for soup are prepped, return pot of broth to a burner on medium-high heat. Add artichoke hearts, potatoes, carrot, squash, diced tomatoes, and fennel to saffron broth. Stir to combine, then add remaining vegetable broth. 
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2. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and partially cover with lid. Simmer soup for 10-13 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Lift lid and stir occasionally during simmering. 
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3. Taste for seasoning, then move onto step #3 (the finishing touches) or stop if you’d prefer to finish on another day. To save soup for a make-ahead meal,just  ladle soup into storage containers or . You can choose if you’d rather use one large container or divide soup into individual servings and use smaller containers (about 2 cups per container). Place uncovered container(s) on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Place lids on container and  refrigerate until ready to serve (soup will last 3-4 days).
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Step Three:
Adding the Finishing Touches
Ingredients:
Any Desired Add-Ins (See List Below)
Additional Broth (Amount will vary depending on desired thickness and quantity of add-ins)
Fresh Herbs For Garnish (Such as Parsley or Chives) (optional)
Dash of Lemon Zest for Finishing (optional)

Once you are ready to serve soup:
1. Transfer desired amount of soup to saucepan and stir in about 1/2 cup of broth per serving (2 cups of soup base is approximately 1 serving). Bring soup to a gentle simmer over medium- high high, stirring occasionally.
2. Once soup is simmering, add any desired add-ins (see below) and additional broth, if needed. You can add almost anything, just be sure that it has a relatively short cooking time (like shrimp) or is already cooked and just needs to be heated through (like chickpeas). 
Optional Add-Ins: 
(Pick as many as you’d like but aim for 1/2- 3/4 cup total of add-ins per serving  of soup)

    • Beans  (such as cooked lentils, canned chickpeas,or  canned cannellini beans)
    • Quick Cooking Vegetables, chopped (such as  asparagus or zucchini)
    • Quick Cooking Seafood (such as shrimp, clams, or mussels)
    • Cooked Seafood (such crab meat, or lobster meat)
    • Firm White Fish, cut into small pieces (such as Halibut or Grouper)
    • Cooked Chicken, cut into small pieces
    • Anything else that sounds good to you!

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3.  Continue to simmer soup a few minutes more or  until all ingredients are heated and cooked through (Cooking time will vary depending on what add-ins you choose). Add additional broth, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency.Taste for seasoning.

4. Ladle soup into serving bowls, garnish with any desired fresh herbs or zest & enjoy!
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Nutrition Information--approximately 225 calories per serving (1/4 of the soup broth + base; not including any of the optional add-ins)
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