Thursday, October 8, 2009

Soups for rainy weather

Leek and Potato Soup
(with special appearances by corn and red pepper)

There's chunky, broth based soup, and then there's ultra -smooth, pureed soup your grandma would love. Sometimes I feel like something in the middle! Removing and pureeing just a bit of the soup can make it extra creamy without adding cups of milk or cream. My lactose intolerant boyfriend also appreciates this.

(this soup disappeared to fast to be photographed. Here's an ingredient instead.)

A note on leeks: they can by sneaky vegetables, hiding dirt and sand in between their leaves. I cut off almost all of the green part (and feed it to my compost worms), then slice the leek lengthwise in half. Then I rinse it, making sure to check between the layers.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 large or 3 small leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly
4 fist sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
salt and pepper
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup milk or cream (leave out for a dairy-free soup, just add 1 more cup of broth)
2 cups of fresh corn (about 2 cobs)

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Cook leeks for 5 minutes, then add potatoes and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add broth, and simmer soup for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Remove 1 cup of soup and puree with an immersion blender (or other blending device). Return pureed soup to pot, add milk (if using) and corn. Simmer (but don't boil!) for another 5 minutes, until corn is cooked to your liking.

I enjoyed this soup with grilled cheese: some gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread with spy apples and aged cheddar. Mmmm. Finished leftovers the next day with my new favorite crackers - Mary's something or other, made out of rice and quinoa. 

Curried Pumpkin and Apple

Here's a creamy vegan soup I invented for one of my New England Pie pumpkins. 

1 pie pumpkin, halved with seeds removed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 apples, diced (no need to peel, the skin will break down)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp curry powder
4-5 cups of vegetable stock 
1 can coconut milk

Preheat oven to 375. Rub pumpkin flesh with 1 tbsp olive oil and place face down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Then scoop the flesh into a bowl. 

Heat other tbsp of olive oil in a large pot. Sautee onion and apples for about 10 minutes, until soft. Add curry powder, salt and pepper and saute for 1 more minute. Then, add cooked pumpkin and stock, and simmer for 10 minutes. Finally, puree soup until smooth, then add coconut milk and heat through. The end! 

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