2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
6 T butter, melted
1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced crosswise
1 small bulb fennel with fronds, bulb finely chopped and fronds chopped for garnish
1 potato (1/2 lb.) peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 C chicken broth or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
2 pitas, split and cut into wedges
½ C heavy cream
¼ C sour cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil peppers with olive oil, place them on baking sheet and bake until soft.
(About 20 minutes depending on oven calibration). Remove skin, slice off 4 strips of roasted red pepper and set aside for later. In a medium pot, place 4 T melted butter over medium heat. Add the leek and chopped fennel bulb and cook until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining roasted peppers, potato, broth, 2 t. salt and ½ t. pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the pitas on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 2 T melted butter. Sprinkle with some of the fennel fronds and salt; toast in the oven, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
Using an immersion or standing blender, working in batches if necessary, blend the potato mixture until smooth. If desired, place a sieve over a large pot and strain the soup. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the soup hot or cold with pita chips. Dollop with sour cream, if desired, and top with the reserved roasted red pepper strips and more fennel fronds.