Let’s be honest here: I have and always will be a soup kind of girl. Whether it’s a hearty Italian wedding soup in the winter or a crisp gazpacho in the summer, if it feels seasonal and it’s made in a big old pot, I’m in. So when I came across this spring minestrone recipe from Healthyish by Bon Appetit, featuring literally all of my favorite spring farmer’s market finds, I was hooked immediately. The combo of sugar snap peas, leeks, fennel, and fresh lemon sounds as good on paper as it did in really life. I switched up a few elements from the original recipe, subbing chicken breasts in for white beans, subbing swiss chard in for spinach, doubling up on lemon zest and lemon juice, and adding red chili flakes instead of cooking the soup with green chili in the base. I served it to rave reviews from an unassuming guest, and will be adding this simple, bright, and healthy soup into my weekly rotation for this and all upcoming springs.
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 scallions, coarsely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ¼ lemon
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, tough outer layer removed, sliced into ½”-thick rounds
1 fennel, halved lengthwise, bulb and stalks thinly sliced, fronds coarsely chopped
1lb chicken breasts, whole
5 oz. sugar snap peas, sliced on a diagonal
2 cups swiss chard, roughly torn into small pieces
1 Tbsp. white miso
Red chili flakes
Add the fennel seeds to a plastic or paper bag, and crush them with the end of a kitchen utensil so roughly broken up. Cook oil, garlic, and ground spices in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until garlic is softened but not crisp, about 2 minutes. Add scallions, red chili flakes, and lemon zest and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are softened and almost completely charred, 5–7 minutes.
Pour 6 cups cold water into saucepan, arrange your chicken breasts so they are submerged, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Add leeks, fennel bulb and stalks, and sugar snap peas (pan will look crowded but vegetables will shrink as they cook). Reduce heat to medium. Add a large pinch of salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until leeks, fennel, and sugar snap peas are fork-tender. Add swiss chard, lemon juice, and miso and cook, stirring, just until chard is wilted, about 10 seconds; season with salt.
Divide soup among bowls. Top with fennel fronds. Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill.
Original recipe can be found here.