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Spiced Ham and Cheese Chowder

No recipe image available.Fresh fennel bulb has a slightly anise flavor. Serve this calming and comforting chowder with crackers and fresh fruit salad after a brisk day outside.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fully cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bulb fennel (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, sliced
1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
1 (12-ounce) can beer

Cooking Directions:

  1. Trim fennel bulb; discard root end and save some of the feathery top for garnish; finely chop and set aside. Quarter the bulb lengthwise; remove the core; chop (you should have about 1 1/2 cups)
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter; add fennel and leeks and sauté, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes, or until fennel is very tender. Combine broth and flour; stir into onion mixture. Add milk, lemon peel, cinnamon and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens.
  3. Gradually stir in cheese; reduce heat to low; stir until cheese melts. Stir in ham and beer; heat through. To serve, ladle chowder into soup bowls. Sprinkle with chopped fennel leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe provided courtesy of National Pork Board.