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Oysters Rockefeller Soup

1 lb fresh spinach, or 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 sm onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 pint oysters, freshly shucked, liquor reserved
2 c half-and-half or light cream
3 Tbsp Pernod
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (or Romano)
1 1/2 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper, freshly ground
Lemon slices, for garnish

If using fresh spinach, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, 1 minute. Drain and
rinse under cold running water. Squeeze as dry as possible.

Place the fresh or frozen spinach in a food processor and turn
the machine on and off until finely chopped. In a large saucepan,
heat 1/3 c of the chicken stock over moderately high heat. Add
the onion, garlic and celery and cook until softened, about 5
minutes. Stir in the remaining chicken stock, the oyster liquor
and the spinach. Slowly add the half-and-half and mix well.
Simmer the soup for 8 minutes, stirring constantly to blend the
flavors. Add the Pernod and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the
cheese, anise seed, salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes
longer. Remove from the heat and add the oysters. Garnish each
serving with a slice of lemon.

Serves 4 to 6


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