Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add fennel bulb and leek; sauté 4 minutes. Add potato, water, salt, fennel seeds, pepper, and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Place half of the soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup. Return pureed soup to pan; simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.
This is a really good soup recipe; I think it might be a bit of a stretch to call it vichyissoise-like (since its neither cold nor does it have cream) but its tasty and very easy to make. I added garlic to increase the flavor and actually served it as a meal rather than an appetizer. If you double the serving its quite filling! This has a formal enough taste for a special occasion (as an appetizer), but it is certainly easy enough for a week-night.
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