Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as main course
400g chicken breasts
2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
1⁄2 fennel bulb, finely sliced
100ml apple juice
400ml vegetable stock
For the Soup
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. mild curry powder (or spice mix of your choice)
500ml vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Topping
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced 1⁄2 fennel bulb, finely diced 1⁄2 celery stick, finely diced,2 tsp. chopped parsley, 4 tbsp. sour cream, to garnish
For the Broth
In a large saucepan over medium heat add some oil, then add butter and stir over a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the fennel and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Pour in the apple juice and bring to the boil. Stir in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil again before adding the chicken breasts, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked but not overdone. Take out the chicken fillets and set aside to cool. Then shred the chicken with two forks into small bits.
For the Soup
In a large saucepan over medium heat add some oil and heat, add your spices and stir, then add butter and continue to stir and melt the butter making sure not to burn it, add the flour and continue to stir keeping it moving so the butter and flour don’t burn. Pour in the broth cooked earlier, plus add in the stock turn up the heat until it thickens slightly.
Return the chicken to the saucepan and heat through. Add the cream and stir well. Check the seasoning, adding salt and a little freshly ground black pepper to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls. Top with the finely chopped vegetables and garnish with a little sour cream.