Zucchini and Leek Soup


One of the main reasons I look forward to Winter is soup.  It's my all-time favourite comfort food.  When the weather begins to cool off, there's nothing more satisfying than having a large pot of soup blipping away on the stove.  This recipe for Zucchini and Leek soup is one of the best to enjoy on a cold winter's night.  It is creamy, comforting, and tastes absolutely delicious.  If you're not a zucchini fan, trust me when I say you will be after this.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 large leeks
2 sticks of celery
750 grams zucchinis (the small ones are the best)
2 medium carrots
2 potatoes
60g butter
Dash of olive oil
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder or 1 chicken stock pot tub (*or Vegeta stock powder)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup pouring cream

Method
Optional: prepare and cook your fresh chicken or vegetable stock, otherwise you can use a good quality, pre-prepared stock of your choice (personally, I prefer using vegetable stock).

Trim and halve each leek length-ways and rinse under running water (with the leaf ends pointing downwards) to flush out any sand or soil.

Slice the leeks and set aside.

Wash and trim the celery, and using a potato peeler, peel away the string from the length of the celery.

Slice the celery and set aside.

Trim and peel the carrots, chop roughly and set aside.

Peel and roughly dice the potatoes and set aside in a bowl of water to prevent them from discolouring.

Wash and trim the ends of the zucchinis, chop roughly and set aside.

In a large stock pot or saucepan, melt the butter with a dash of olive oil over medium heat.

Drain the water from the potatoes, add them to the saucepan and stir to coat in butter.

Add the carrots, celery and zucchini to the pot and continue to stir to coat in the butter.

Add the leeks to the pot and carefully stir in with the rest of the ingredients.  Cover the pot and allow the ingredients to soften for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the ingredients do not burn or catch on the bottom of the pot (do not brown!).

Remove the lid and stir the ingredients - the leeks should have softened slightly and reduced in volume.

Add the litre of vegetable or chicken stock liquid.

Add the chicken stock pot or 2 teaspoons of chicken powder (or Vegeta), and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.  Again, the chicken stock powder/pot is optional - leave it out and use Vegeta instead to keep in strictly vegetarian.

Bring soup to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for approximately 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Stir in the chopped parsley.

Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy.

Add the cream and reheat the soup without bringing it to the boil.

Serve with some toasted crusty bread.

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