Itâ€™s been manic out there.
The swings in our weather these past weeks, I mean.
Last Wednesday boasted a balmy 75 degrees in my wee corner of the world, with clumps of yellow-tipped daffodils, poised to bloom in the side yard, and shoots of young chives emerging from drab garden pots. Such promise! I was rolling up my shirt sleeves, my thoughts racing: I want to dig in the dirt; I’ll get some seeds started, I want to plant, I want garden lettuces and peas and sugar snaps…
Too soon, the wiser part of me interrupted. Itâ€™s. Still. Winter.
Yep, three days later and fifty degrees colder, Iâ€™m huddled in the house, loathe to even poke my head out the door to get the mail.
These extreme swings make it hard to adjust.
So, for dinner, I want something to warm and soothe. Iâ€™m thinking Soup.
But I’d like something light and green â€“–the visual means as much as smell and taste—I’d like to spoon up a bowl something embodying the sense of warmer days, call it a promise of spring soup.
A Leek Soup could do just that.
Similar to the classic potato-leek, this one is All About the Leeksâ€”the secondary potato is there to help form the base. I let some other members of the allium family into the mixâ€”garlic, scallions, a few of those baby chives from my garden pot to boost flavors, give the leeks some company.
Simmered in vegetable broth and partly pureed with low fat milk, it is lighter, healthier.
And, its pleasing pale green reminds me that it’s almost spring.
4 Leeks, root end removed, slice in half lengthwise, thoroughly rinsed and cleaned to remove all grit,
discard tough dark green leaves, chop remainder, reserving a few leaves for garnish
3 medium white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth (can be made with water, or chicken stock, if you prefer)
2 Â½ cups 1% milk
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
In a 3 qt. saucepan under medium heat, warm the olive oil and sautÃ© potato cubes for 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic, scallions, and leeks. Season with salt and white pepper. When potatoes seem soft and leeks begin to brown (another 5-7 minutes), stir in vegetable broth, scraping any browned bits in the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally. Pour in milk, and puree–to a point. You want to retain some nice flecks of leek throughout the soup. You can use either a hand held immersion blender, or transfer the soup into a blender or food processor. Taste for seasonings. Makes 6 cups.
Frizzled Leek Garnish
Thinly slice a few strips of leeks and lightly coat with olive oil. Spread out on a shallow baking pan and roast in a hot (400-425 degree) oven for 10-12 minutes, until crispy brown, frizzled. They will become crunchier as they cool. Sprinkle with a little salt. By themselves, these make a tasty snack.