We kept the soup slightly chunky, though it can also be pureed until smooth. Use an immersion blender, if desired. Hanukkah celebrants eat dairy during the holiday to commemorate the Jewish heroine Judith, who saved her village from Syrian attackers by distracting their general with wine and cheese.
Cooking Light DECEMBER 2007
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add fennel; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add broth, tomatoes, and thyme to pan; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes. Remove pan from heat; cool 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprig. Place half of tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until almost smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato mixture. Stir in salt and pepper; keep warm.
Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese on each. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
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