Spinach Soup, Split Pea and Fennel

Ingredients

2 cups chopped fennel (1 bulb or 
5 fennel stalks, fronds removed)
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
15 oz. dried green split peas
1 tsp. fennel seeds, divided
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
Preparation

1. Heat saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add fennel and onion, and sauté 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook 30 seconds and simmer 2 minutes. Add split peas, 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, thyme, bay leaf, and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until split peas are tender. Stir in spinach, and cook 2 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.

3. Remove bay leaf, and purée soup with immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toast remaining 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds in small skillet 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Serve soup garnished with toasted fennel seeds.

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