Carrot Soup with Anise and Creme Fraiche
2 teaspoons anise seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons anise flavored liquor like Sambuca, Ouzo, or Pernod
1/4 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon anise flavored liquor
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Warm a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the anise seeds and toss until light golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan and place in a spice grinder and coarsely grind.
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and coarsely ground anise seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally , for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the carrots are tender, 15 minutes. Let cool.
In batches, puree the soup in a blender on high speed until very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean soup pot. Add the heavy cream and stir. Add as much of the anise flavored liquor to taste and stir together. If the soup is too thick, add additional water or stock. The soup should be the consistency of thick heavy cream.
For the garnish, in a small bowl, stir together the crème fraiche and remaining 1 tablespoon anise flavored liquor. Season with salt.
Ladle the hot soup into soup bowls. Drizzle a spoonful of the anise flavored crème fraiche over the top. Garnish with chives and serve.