This is a really vibrant and fresh tasting way to do split pea soup. I love the brightness the fennel adds and adding a little spinach boosts the vitamin content as well!
This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Vegetarian Times: March 2012 p.56 I made a few modifications and changes. One of them being adding salt at the beginning, adding salt while the fennel, onions, and spices are sautéing brings out the most flavor in those ingredients. If you wait to salt until the end you will have to put a lot of salt in to bring out the flavor!
2 cups chopped fennel (1 bulb or 5 fennel stalks, fronds removed) 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups) 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.) 1 cup dry white wine, divided 15 oz. dried green split peas 1 tsp. fennel seeds, divided ½ tsp. dried thyme 1 bay leaf 5 oz. baby spinach leaves
1. Heat a few tbs of olive oil in a deep soup pot. Add fennel and onion, as well as bay leaf, thyme, fennel seeds and 1 tsp salt—and sauté for 6 minutes or so until fennel starts to get softer, stirring regularly. Add garlic, cook for about one minute. Add split peas and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about an hour until peas are soft. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed. 2. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine and spinach, cook until spinach is wilted. 3. Remove bay leaf. Purée soup with immersion blender until smooth.
Serves 6-8 Time 10 minutes prep, 1 hour cooking time (mostly passive)