Chunky Potato and Leek Soup

This is my new favourite crew lunch soup recipe.  The chunkiness allows each vegetable to speak for itself while the overall flavour is gorgeous. Ingredients 300 gm sweet potato - scrubbed not peeled and cut into 1 cm rounds (if they are the finger sweet potatoes) 500 gm potato - scrubbed not peeled and cut into large bite size pieces 3 carrots - halved and cut into 1/2cm semi rounds 1 leek halved and sliced into 1/2cm semi circles 250ml white wine 200 gm of pumpkin peeled and cut into 2 cm squares a large knob of butter...about 80 grams 1.5L vegetable stock 1/2 cup chopped parsley 3/4 cup chopped stinging nettles

Method 1. Place the butter and leeks into a large heavy bottom stock pot on medium heat.  Caramelise the leeks...stirring occasionally until they begin to brown. 2. Add carrots, potato, pumpkin, sweet potato and wine and turn the heat up burning the alcohol from the wine. 3. Turn heat back to medium and add stock.  Ensure that there is ample stock to cover vegetables.  Simmer until pumpkin begins to break down.  The pumpkin can completely disintegrate adding flavour to the stock. Add stock if needed. 4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Once the stock is well flavoured, add the parsley and nettles and remove from heat.  Let rest for five minutes before serving.

Photo Credit Belinda Sheekey at Dyeing Trade

 

Leek and Nettle/Spinach/Silverbeet Tartlets

I adapted this recipe from Linda Woodrow's Leek Tartlets with Olive Oil Pastry  (I used to use a short crust pastry but tried her yogurt, olive oil pastry and much preferred it.)
You can use spinach or 'Perpetual Gator' silverbeet as a replacement for the nettles.
Makes 6 large muffin sized tarts. Recipe doubles fine.
The Pastry:
Into a food processor or a bowl, put 1 cup of wholemeal plain flour and a good pinch of salt.
Put a couple of good dessertspoons of low fat Greek yoghurt in a cup, then top it up to half full with olive oil. You want it about half and half – ¼ cup of each. You don’t need to mix them.
Tip the cup all at once into the processor or bowl and blitz them together.  In a food processor it’s just a couple of seconds, but you can do it just by stirring.  Knead just enough to combine into a dough.  It needs to be quite moist so don’t add any more flour than necessary, and don’t overwork the dough or it will get tough.  Put the dough in a plastic container in the freezer to cool while you make the filling.
The Filling:
Sauté 2 cups of chopped leeks (white and pale green part) in a little butter or olive oil.  Do this over low heat for about twenty minutes which caramelises the leek.  When they are almost done, add 1 cup chopped nettles.
Beat together:
  • eggs
  • ¼ cup white wine or 1/4 cup milk or 1/4 cup cream or 1/4 water with a squeeze of lemon
  • a dessertspoon of lemon thyme
  • a good grating of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Assembling and Baking:The pastry is quite fragile.  The easiest way to roll it out is to put a sheet of greaseproof paper on your bench top, put the ball of dough on it, and cover with another sheet.  Roll the pastry out between the two sheets, turning once or twice to un-wrinkle the paper. You can then peel the top sheet of paper off, cut the dough to fit your muffin tins, flip the lot and peel the other sheet off. Roll the scraps out between the greaseproof paper again.
If you have a round bowl the right size to fit the muffin tins, use it to cut your rounds.  I do not so I cut the dough into squares which then stick up out of the tins.
Grease the baking tins lightly, line with pastry.  You can pre-bake empty for five minutes or just put a few dessert spoons of the leek and nettle mixture into each cup, pour the egg mixture, dividing between the cups and top with parmesan cheese.
Bake in a medium oven for around 20 minutes till the pastry is golden.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients1/4 cup (60ml) butter 2 leek 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 red birdseye chilli, finely chopped (optional) 1 cinnamon stick 3cm piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1 apple 2 carrots 1.5kg pumpkin (Buttercup varieties work well for soups.  They have a richer flavour) 1/3 cup (70g) red split peas (optional) Fresh thyme, coriander and/or parsley Salt, Pepper and Cream

Method 1. Peel, seed and cut the pumpkin into 3cm pieces.  Lightly coat with olive oil and roast in a 220 oven for about 45 minutes or until golden.  Take care to turn the pumpkin a few times while roasting. 2. Thinly slice the white of the leek. Peel and coarsely chop the carrots. 3. Put butter, leeks, carrots, garlic and thyme into a large soup pan and lightly saute for about 5-10 minutes. 5. Place a cast iron fry pan on high heat and roast the cumin seeds.  Then grind them in a mortar and pestle. 4. Peel, core and slice into 1 1/2 cm cubes the apple.  Add apple, cinnamon, cumin and ginger to the leeks. Saute for another few minutes to release the flavour of the spices. 5. Add stock and split peas and gently simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils and carrots are tender. 6. Add in the roasted pumpkin and simmer for another five minutes. 7.  Blend.  Adjust seasonings for taste.  You can add more cinnamon, more chillies, more salt and pepper, or even a dollop of honey. 8.  Serve with a dollop of double cream and a sprinkle of coriander or parsley.

Poached Vegetables with Caper Mayonnaise

This recipe is from the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Just-poached vegetables show off their natural attributes, and taste fresh and light in a way you never get with roasting or frying. Baby turnip or corn will work, too, as will broad beans, peas and green beans. Don't chop them up much and don't cook them very long. Serve warm with the broth and mayonnaise as a starter, or cold with the mayonnaise only.

I have reprinted the recipe exactly even though all of the vegetables are not in season right now.  We made this the other night though with carrots, zucchini, green beans and leeks and it was lovely.

Ingredients Mayonnaise ½ garlic clove, crushed 1 egg yolk 1½ tsp white-wine vinegar ½ tsp Dijon mustard ½ tsp salt Juice and zest of ½ lemon 75ml vegetable oil 2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped

Poaching liquor 600ml white wine 200ml olive oil 150ml lemon juice 2 bay leaves ½ onion 2 celery sticks, cut into batons 1 tsp salt

The vegetables 100g baby fennel 200g baby carrot 150g fine asparagus 100g baby courgette 150g baby leek 2 tbsp chopped dill

Method 1. First make the mayo. Put the garlic, egg, vinegar, mustard, salt and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Start blending, and then, with the motor going, very slowly dribble in the oil until you get a thick mayonnaise. Fold in the capers and lemon zest and set aside. 2. Wash the vegetables but don't trim them too much, so you're left with some stalks or leaves. Depending on their size, cut the vegetables lengthways in halves or quarters, trying to get them a similar size. 3. Put the wine in a wide pan and boil for two to three minutes. Add all the other poaching liquor ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add the fennel and carrot, then, after three minutes, the asparagus, courgette and leek, and cook for another three minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but still crunchy. Lift them from the broth and divide between four wide bowls. 4. Place a ladle of liquid around the vegetables, top with a dollop of mayonnaise and sprinkle with dill. Chill any leftover broth for later use.

 

Leek and Nettle Tartlets

I adapted this recipe from Linda Woodrow's Leek Tartlets with Olive Oil Pastry  (I used to use a short crust pastry but tried her yogurt, olive oil pastry and much preferred it.)
Makes 6 large muffin sized tarts. Recipe doubles fine.
The Pastry:
Into a food processor or a bowl, put 1 cup of wholemeal plain flour and a good pinch of salt.
Put a couple of good dessertspoons of low fat Greek yoghurt in a cup, then top it up to half full with olive oil. You want it about half and half – ¼ cup of each. You don’t need to mix them.
Tip the cup all at once into the processor or bowl and blitz them together.  In a food processor it’s just a couple of seconds, but you can do it just by stirring.  Knead just enough to combine into a dough.  It needs to be quite moist so don’t add any more flour than necessary, and don’t overwork the dough or it will get tough.  Put the dough in a plastic container in the freezer to cool while you make the filling.
The Filling:
Sauté 2 cups of chopped leeks (white and pale green part) in a little butter or olive oil.  Do this over low heat for about twenty minutes which caramelises the leek.  When they are almost done, add 1 cup chopped nettles.
Beat together:
  • eggs
  • ¼ cup white wine or 1/4 cup milk or 1/4 cup cream or 1/4 water with a squeeze of lemon
  • a dessertspoon of lemon thyme
  • a good grating of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Assembling and Baking:The pastry is quite fragile.  The easiest way to roll it out is to put a sheet of greaseproof paper on your bench top, put the ball of dough on it, and cover with another sheet.  Roll the pastry out between the two sheets, turning once or twice to un-wrinkle the paper. You can then peel the top sheet of paper off, cut the dough to fit your muffin tins, flip the lot and peel the other sheet off. Roll the scraps out between the greaseproof paper again.
If you have a round bowl the right size to fit the muffin tins, use it to cut your rounds.  I do not so I cut the dough into squares which then stick up out of the tins.
Grease the baking tins lightly, line with pastry.  You can pre-bake empty for five minutes or just put a few dessert spoons of the leek and nettle mixture into each cup, pour the egg mixture, dividing between the cups and top with parmesan cheese.
Bake in a medium oven for around 20 minutes till the pastry is golden.

Famous Fall Roots Soup

A trio of fall root vegetables — carrots, leeks, and a swede — forms the savory foundation of this soup. Puréed and enriched with crème fraîche, this potage, with its velvety, smooth texture and glorious orange hue, is always a hit — whether it’s a first course or the main attraction. Ingredients 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2-1/2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (3 to 4 medium leeks) 1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced 1 medium swede (1 to 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and diced 8 cups chicken stock Kosher salt 1-1/4 cups crème fraîche 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method 1. Heat butter in a large, heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. When melted and hot, add leeks, carrots, and swede. Sauté vegetables until softened, for 10 minutes or longer. Add stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, for about 30 minutes. 2. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.) Whisk in 3/4 cup of the crème fraîche. Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.) 3. To serve, ladle soup into shallow soup bowls. Garnish each serving with a generous dollop of the remaining 1/2 cup crème fraîche and a sprinkling of parsley.

LYNNE’S TIPS • Rutabaga (Swede) is an often overlooked root vegetable member of the cabbage family. Its pale yellow flesh is slightly sweet. Choose ones with smooth skin and firm flesh that are heavy for their size. • A sliced yam added to this soup would bring out a sweet touch and play well with the rutabaga. • This soup can be made ahead and its flavor will only improve. • When you have time, try roasting the vegetables before cooking them into a soup. Toss the chopped vegetables with a little olive oil, spread them out on a shallow pan and roast at 425 degrees F until they begin to soften and caramelize. Flavors will be more intense.

Makes 8 servings.

Excerpted from Sunday Soup: A Year’s Worth of Mouthwatering, Easy-to-Make Recipes by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books LLC). Copyright © 2008 by Betty Rosbottom.

Carrot and Leek Soup

Ingredients1 kg carrots, sliced into 1 cm thick rounds 4 cups stock 1 medium potato, cut into cubes 1-2 tsp salt 1 ½ cups of leeks, halved and then thinly sliced 1/3 cup ground almonds 2-4 cloves of garlic, pressed leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme leaves from 2 sprigs of marjoram 1 tsp grated fresh ginger pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon fresh basil

Method 1. Place carrots, stock, potato and salt together in a soup pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until carrots are tender. 2. Sauté leeks and garlic in 3-4 tbsp of butter for about 7 minutes. Add the remaining spices, sautéing for another 2-3 minutes to release their flavour. Add almonds and remove from heat. 3. Puree all ingredients together, return to pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste as well as extra thyme or ginger if desired. 4. Simmer 5 - 10 minutes to "marry" the flavours. Serve the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche topped with slivered basil leaves.

Potato and Leek Soup

Ingredients3 tablespoons butter 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups) 4 medium potatoes (about 18 ounces total), peeled, diced 4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or vegetable broth 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives Cream to taste
Method 1. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. 2. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. 3. Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. 4. Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. 5. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) 6. Garnish with chives and cream (optional).