The Essential Vegetable That Easily Lightens Creamy Potato Soups

Who doesn't love a good soup night? Especially if the weather is cold, there's nothing more comforting than a big, warm bowl of your favorite soup. If you've ever made a thicker, dense soup like a clam chowder, butternut squash, or potato leek soup, then you know that it can be a bit heavy. In the case of potato leek soup, the potatoes are blended with the broth to create a thick, hearty soup that can be wonderful if you're serving it for the main course. What if you're hoping to make a potato leek soup as a first course or side dish, and you don't want everyone to fill up immediately? Well, Great British Baking Show alum Flora Shedden has a trick to lighten up your soup, and it has nothing to do with eliminating cream, adding more broth, or reducing the amount of potato. Read on to learn about her secret ingredient that yields a light, flavorful potato leek soup.

Welcome to the pot, fennel!

According to People Magazine, Former British Baking Show alum and upcoming cookbook author Flora Shedden likes to add a bit of roasted fennel to her potato leek soup. The recipe will be featured in her new book, "Supper," and Shedden doesn't shy away from the ingredient either. She uses two medium bulbs as compared to just one leek. According to the People Magazine article, her rationale is that it helps lighten the soup's dense flavor.

Fennel can be a divisive flavor, not beloved by all. With that said, for those who might be wary of cooking with fennel or don't like its anise-y, black licorice flavor, roasting could be more suited to your taste. Roasting vegetables gives them a softer, sweeter flavor as they caramelize (per Applegate Farms.) According to Food & Wine, roasting fennel is actually a favorite preparation for many professional chefs. Food Network also notes that if you don't care for the taste of fennel, you can substitute a mild onion or even the bulb section of bok choy instead. Now you know a trick to lighten up a heavier soup next time you prepare your favorite recipes.