Subtly flavored with licorice and fennel, this aromatic soup offers an elegant start to any holiday meal. Reserve the fennel fronds and thinly slice some of the shoots for a festive garnish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs, coarsely chopped (4 cups), fronds and shoots reserved for garnish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 4 (14½ ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick), skin removed
- 1 (10-ounce) bag of fresh spinach
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
- Add fennel; cook 10 minutes, just until it begins to brown, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt, pepper and shallot; cook 5 minutes, until shallot is softened and fennel is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken broth and chicken legs; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and transfer chicken to a colander.
- Run chicken under cold water just until cool enough to handle.
- Remove chicken meat from bones (discard bones), shred meat and add to soup.
- Stir in spinach and lemon zest.
- Spoon into serving bowls, and garnish with reserved fennel fronds and shoots, if desired.