Recipe: Roasted Mushroom and Fennel Soup with Ranch Cream

6 Small fennel bulbs, stalks removed and sliced into thin wedges 
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ C. Unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 Large onion, roughly chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, smashed
6 Sprigs Fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stem
3 ½ Lb. White button mushrooms, sliced in half
3 Qt. Chicken stock
¾ C. Heavy cream
2 Tbsp. Fresh chopped chives
1 Pkt. (1-oz.) Ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
2 C. Sour cream

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Spread mushrooms, onion, fennel, garlic and thyme on large sheet tray or non-stick roasting dish (may require 2 pans to accommodate all vegetables).  Sprinkle pieces of butter evenly over vegetables; drizzle liberally with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper; roast 25-30 minutes.  Mushrooms and fennel should be tender and slightly caramelized when done.  Remove tray from oven and transfer all ingredients (including pan juices) to large pot.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and puree until completely smooth, using handheld or regular blender.  Stir in heavy cream; simmer gently for additional 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  While soup simmers, in a small mixing bowl, combine ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix, sour cream and chopped chives.  To serve, ladle soup intosoup bowls and garnish each serving with a swirl of ranch cream and chives.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe and photograph provided by The Clorox Company/Hidden Valley.