I’m a soup girl. Honestly, if I didn’t have to think about pleasing the other members of my household, I would surely eat soup a few times a week. Maybe more. To me, it is the ultimate comfort food. And between the nourishing, mineral-rich broth and soup’s adaptability to the addition of any vegetable in my fridge, it gives me great pleasure knowing I am eating something healing, nutritious, and delicious, but also practical and economical.
A key to truly good soup is a homemade bone broth. It’s not absolutely integral; however, both the flavor and nutrient profile will be greatly enhanced by this simple addition. At home, I freeze all the bones I get from parting out poultry and meat, as well as any leftover cooked bones. Once I have accumulated a sufficient amount, I put a huge pot (or two) of this magic elixir on simmer, rendering out all the curative collagen, gelatin, and minerals. Once finished, I keep it in my freezer for soup-yearnings (and general cooking) down the road. The amount of work involved is fairly effortless, and the advantages are numerous. For more on the benefits of bone broth and recipes see Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Nourishing Traditions and Internal Bliss.
One beauty of homemade soups is their ease of preparation. This recipe is no exception; it uses less than ten ingredients! It conforms well to the inclusion of other vegetables you may have on hand, particularly root vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, or winter brassicas, such as cauliflower or broccoli. Blend the soup as much or as little as you like, depending on your preference. If you desire a sublimely silken finished product, pass the blended soup through a fine mess strainer before serving.
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium-sized leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled if desired, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6–8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream or crème fraiche, optional
1. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Cut leeks in half lengthwise, then thinly slice each half, using only the white and pale green parts. Discard the dark green leaves, as they can be tough, or save and add to a pot of simmering chicken broth. Drop leeks into bowl of cold water. Peel potatoes and drop in cold water with leeks.
2. Melt butter in a large pot. Add leeks, garlic, and a nice sprinkle of salt. Cook on medium-low, stirring frequently, until softened. Try not to let leeks brown.
3. Chop potato and add to leeks, along with the thyme. Saute potatoes for about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 6 cups of chicken stock, or enough to cover vegetables.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender. Using an immersion blender, countertop blender, or food processor*, carefully blend soup in batches to your desired consistency, adding additional chicken stock if soup is too thick.
*If using a countertop blender or food processor, do not fill more than halfway or hot soup could come exploding out, causing a very dangerous mess.
5. If desired, strain blended soup through a fine-mesh sieve. Pour soup back into a pot and heat through. Add cream or crème fraiche, if using, and gently warm through.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream products