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Saturday, July 11, 2009
WHY IS IT THAT IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER I WANT A TASTY SOUP? CHRIS FROM VERMONT'S POTATO LEEK SOUP
CHRIS FRENCH’S POTATO LEEK SOUP VERMONT STYLE
• 1/4 cup olive oil • 1 large onion, diced • 2 stalks of celery, ends trimmed, sliced 1/4" thick • 2 leeks, just the white part, root end cut off, then sliced 1/4" thick • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced • 3 medium thin-skinned red or gold/yellow potatoes, diced • 1/2 sweet red pepper, diced • 1 large boxed container veggie or chicken broth • small handful fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dry • 1 teaspoon dried thyme • 2 teaspoons sea salt • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper To save time, start sweet potatoes 10 minutes before other items. Put sweet potatoes in a small pan, cover with water and bring to boil. Parboil 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Do not drain! Heat up broth separately.
Put the sliced leeks in a bowl, fill with water, swish around with your hands to ensure any dirt between pieces is washed away. Lift out of water with a large slotted spoon or wire basket. Set aside.
Using a heavy bottomed soup pan (Dutch oven, etc.) turn heat to medium high. Add olive oil, wait a couple of minutes for oil to heat. Add diced onions and celery. Sauté 3 mins. Add leeks, sauté 2 minutes. Add parboiled sweet potatoes along with water from pan, the potatoes and sweet red pepper. Add basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Add heated broth and enough hot water to cover all vegetables.
Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a low boil/heavy simmer for 15 minutes.
Turn heat off, and using a potato masher, carefully mash soup to desired consistency. Soup will be very hot so be very careful! Return to heat, taste, and adjust seasonings. Add 2-4 tablespoons of butter, Smart Balance (vegetarian), or Earth Balance (vegan). Stir, let sit 5 minutes.
Serve with warm crusty bread topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes and basil leaves, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!