This luxurious soup skips the time-consuming broth-making step and uses poached chicken breasts in quality stock instead. That way the clean flavours of fennel and leeks caramelized and deglazed in vermouth shine through—with a swirl of silky spinach added at the end to contribute a nutritional punch. Don’t skip the marinated fennel with white wine vinegar garnish. It’s a crunchy, sweet-and-sour topping that can be made up to a week in advance and gets better after at least a day of marinating. It will last for up to a month in the fridge and is also great in salads, tacos, du Puy lentils, or as a snack with crackers.
You can also make this recipe with a whole chicken and follow the method in
alive’s Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup.
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced fennel, plus a handful of minced fennel fronds
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups (750 mL) diced fennel bulbs and lower stems
1 leek, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground black pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry vermouth or dry white wine
10 cups (2.5 L) low-sodium chicken broth or bone broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups (500 mL) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
4 oz (113 g) angel hair pasta
For marinated fennel, in small pot, combine oil, white wine vinegar, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stir to dissolve salt, and pour over diced fennel, chopped tarragon, and fennel fronds in heat-proof jar or container. Let cool at room temperature. Refrigerate until needed.
For soup, in large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add diced fennel, leek, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown.
Deglaze pot with vermouth or wine and cook for
30 seconds. Add broth, chicken breasts, and tarragon leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add spinach and pasta and simmer for 3 minutes, or until softened. Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired.
To serve, divide soup among 6 bowls and top with tarragon-marinated fennel.
Each serving contains: 259 calories; 19 g protein; 10 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 25 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars, 3 g fibre); 309 mg sodium