There’s something about snow that makes me just crave the fragrant, piping-hot, allium-infused hug of a leek soup.
Out here in the Washington area we are preparing for what the weather gods and goddesses (on TV) say will be the coldest January in decades. But so far so good. We have barely dodged a couple of major snowstorms, leaving the snow-seeking Desi chagrined and me happy as a squirrel. And no, don’t take that to mean I don’t love the snow. It’s just that I love it more on the weekends, for reasons anyone who works for a living can well imagine.
Yesterday, after a stressful ride home — my car’s windscreen and mirrors iced over by a nasty wintry mix that preceded a glorious snowfall– I was simply desperate for the comfort of some soup. I was in luck, because I had a leek on hand. And potatoes. I also had some cilantro which, I knew, would add the perfect mix of tang and bite to the soup.
Hope you’re enjoying the winter, all!
Leek and Potato Soup.
(Makes 4 hearty servings)
1 leek, washed thoroughly, slit in half, then thinly sliced. Look within the leaves, because leeks have a way of concealing grit in their folds. And nothing spoils a soup faster than dirt.
2 medium russet potatoes, diced and then nuked in the microwave with 1/2 cup water for 5-7 minutes or until tender
1 tsp ground black pepper
5-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 cup soymilk (optional, but recommended for extra creaminess)
Heat the oil in a saucepan.
Add the leeks and some salt and saute over medium-low heat until the leeks start to wilt.
Add the cilantro, garlic and pepper. Stir well and allow the leeks to cook until quite tender.
Add 3 cups of water, or enough to almost cover the leeks. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer, around 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
If you have an immersion blender, get it out and blitz the soup to a smooth puree right in the pot. If not, add it to a blender (not a food processor), in batches if needed, and blend.
Return the soup to the saucepan and warm through. Add the soymilk if using, and check for seasoning. Add more salt if needed.
If you follow this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I rarely peel or stem vegetables and herbs. While you definitely need to strip some foods bare before you add them to your pot or plate, like coconut and avocado, most thin-skinned veggies can go into your pot as they are. Carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bitter gourd (karela), and eggplant are few examples of vegetables that are healthier and tastier with their skins on but which, for some reason, get peeled all the time. Remember, valuable nutrients often lie right under — and sometimes in– the skins of most veggies, so peeling them only means you lose out on their goodness. Same goes for soft stems of herbs and leafy veggies– cilantro stems are packed with flavor, for instance, and who in their right minds would take the stems off spinach?
Here’s my super-adorable Pie, whose favorite thing to do in the winter is to bask in the sun all day.