Welcome to winter. The temperature’s dropped, it’s freezing again, and most of us are longing for the warmth of a really great cup of soup! Perhaps you’re searching for the easiest preparation, fastest cook time, best-tasting pot, amid cold and flu season and the surge of a pandemic, abundantly healthy, that your family will love soup. Whew – that’s a pretty tall order, but look no more, we’ve got you covered! It’s the simple, loveable, leek soup.
The un-famous leek is mentioned in The Talmud and The Bible. A staple in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Rome, this healthy veggie is now used widely in Middle Eastern, Asian, and European cooking. The leek is considered ‘in season’ in North America from late summer to mid-spring. Available at farmer’s markets or in the grocer’s vegetable section, usually banded together in bunches of 4 or 5 stalks, it won’t take much for a great pot of soup.
The health benefits of leeks are simply outstanding. Part of the allium or onion and garlic family, the leek contains anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer properties. Leeks promote strong bones, aid in weight loss, and protect the eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. All of this and they taste good too!
Leeks look like overgrown or giant green onions (scallions). They have the mildest taste of the onion family, are almost sweet, definitely flavorful, and serve as great additions to salads, casseroles, fish, and poultry dishes.
Part of the beauty of the leek is that they are mild enough to mold themselves into an enhancement to your favorite flavors. Enjoy the simple recipe below, knowing you can make it your own by adding heavy cream for a traditional broth, a bit of corn or cabbage, bacon bits if you love them, parsley, cilantro, or other herbs and seasonings.
For the Ingredients Use: 1 Stick (1/2 cup) Butter, 5 Leek Stalks Chopped into Discs (or Rings), 1 Diced Red Onion, 2 Diced Garlic Cloves, 2 Tbsp. Flour, 4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, 2 Cups Cubed Potatoes, Salt & Pepper to Taste
Cooking Directions: Cut dark green leaves from leeks and discard or save for cooking stock later. Rinse stems (light green and white portion of stalk), check for dirt or sand and chop into thin discs or rings. Rinse discs a second time to remove any remaining dirt. Dice onion and garlic. Cube potatoes. Melt butter on high heat in a large pot, add leeks, onion, and garlic. Stir, allowing vegetables to caramelize lightly. In a small container, combine 2 Tbsp. Flour to ½ cup of the broth. Stir to dissolve the flour. Add to pot along with remaining broth. Bring contents of the pot to boil, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, salt, and pepper to taste, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Cool. Serve this luxurious fix for this winter’s soup cravings.
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