- 1 1/2 cups ham (fully cooked, cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
- 1 bulb fennel (about 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 leek (large, sliced)
- 14 1/2 ounces chicken broth
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon peel (grated)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded, 8 ounces)
- 12 ounces beer
- 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)
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter; add fennel and leeks and saute, 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.
- 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.