Roasted Fennel and Potato Soup

- 1 Large bulb fennel, quartered
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.
- 1 cup onions halved and sliced
- 1 Cup potatoes cubed

- 2 Cups chicken stock

- 2 Tablespoons dry sherry

- 1/2 Cup half and half (or add additional potatoes)

- 1/2 Cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped.
- 1/4 Cup blue/feta cheese - crumbled.
- 1 Lemon, zest only - finely chopped

- 1 Tablespoon fresh chives or fennel leaves -minced

1) Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss fennel with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. roast fennel on a baking sheet until tender and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
2) While fennel is roasting, heat remaining oil in a heavy, medium sized pot over medium-low flame. Add leeks, stirring to coat leeks with oil. Cover pot and cook the leeks for about 5 minutes, until they are translucent. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Puree mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.
3) Allow fennel to cool. when easy to handle slice into small strips, about 1/2 inch. Add to potato mixture, along with sherry mixture and the half and half to reach the desired texture of the soup. Return to simmer, and stir in walnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss blue/feta cheese with lemon zest.
4) To serve, ladle soup into warm bowls. Top with a tablespoon of blue/feta cheese mixture. Sprinkle with minced chives or fennel and walnuts