As cold days of winter blossom into warmer, brighter days of spring, I'm looking forward to our garden's harvest to come. There is still a chill in the air which makes me crave soup and I now have plenty of leeks growing in our garden to enjoy a warm nourishing soup.
One of my favorite soup recipes is Anja's potato soup in which she prepared for me during my first visit with her to Switzerland. Inspired by Anja's recent trip to California, instead of potatoes, I have supplemented leeks as the major ingredient (with some other minor variations) to transform her fall soup recipe into a spring ready soup. Leeks, saffron, thyme, and lemon render a deliciously unique spoonful of nourishment.
Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called allium. Since leeks are related to garlic, scallion, and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial components found in these health promoting vegetables. Low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, leeks help to decrease cholesterol, blood vessel stiffness, and thus blood pressure.
All these wonderful nutritional benefits captured in a healthy, hearty soup will sure to nourish your heart and soul.
|Leek Soup served with open face slow-roast beef sandwich|
Thank you Anja for sharing your recipe with us, as it continues to inspire a decade later!
3 Leek stalks; both white and green parts
3 potatoes; peeled and chopped into cube size pieces
1 small onion; chopped
2 cloves of garlic; minced
4 cups organic vegetable broth
1/3 cup organic cream (low fat milk may be substituted or omitted all together)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 organic lemon (zest only and juice)
3 tablespoons organic quality butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and salt
First prepare leeks by removing and tossing 2 inches of the green ends of stalk and trim lower end root. Chop stalk into 1/4 inch pieces and soak in a large bowl of water to remove soil trapped in between. With your fingers rub chopped pieces under water to ensure dirt and soil is removed. Using a large strainer, remove handfuls of leek and run under water and place in strainer. Repeat until all pieces have been completely rinsed and strained. DO NOT pour bowl of water with chopped leeks into strainer as the dirt usually will settle on the bottom of the bowl and you don't want to transfer it.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter (or heat olive oil). Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add leeks and sauté for an additional 10 minutes. Later add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes until garlic becomes more fragrant. Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once broth is boiling hot, carefully add potatoes and cook for 20 minutes longer. Using an emulsifier or inverted blender, puree all the ingredients until a silky consistency is achieved. Add cream (if using), saffron, lemon zest and juice. Stir and blend in all ingredients and continue to gently boil over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. If soup is too thick, add 1/4 cup at a time until your desired consistency is achieved. Taste also for more salt if needed; serve in bowls garnished with croutons, parsley or sautéed leek.