People always ask me what my favorite soup is and I don't have a proper answer. It depends on my mood and what I am hungry for. But, put down a bowl of potato & leek soup in front of me and I am not going to turn it down. It never fails to satisfy, whatever mood I might be in, and you'll find several variations on the blog over the years.
Although I vowed last week to take a break from Nigel Slater recipes featuring cheese or have a cheeservention, it was a short break because I saw his potato soup recipe featuring Parmesan cheese and its flavorful rinds and I couldn't resist. Like Nigel, I save my Parmesan rinds and toss them into soup when I have them and I just happened to have a couple tucked away. I cut down the butter a bit and added baby arugula to the soup. Personally, I love the combination of a peppery or bitter green and the potatoes and Parmesan and the green makes it have more a spring feel. My changes are noted in red below.
Nigel says, "I never throw away Parmesan rinds, no matter how dry they look. They are
full of intense, cheesy flavour. To get the full, soothingly velvet
texture of this soup you will need a couple of large hunks of rind,
about 5cm or 6cm long. If the fridge is bare, then ask at your local
deli - they may let you have them for little or nothing."
Potato, Leek and Parmesan Soup (+ Baby Arugula)
Adapted from Nigel Slater, via The Guardian
3 good-sized leeks
a thick slice, about 40g (3 Tbsp), butter (I reduced to 1 Tbsp)
3 medium potatoes (I used 6 small/med Yukon Gold)
1.5 litres of light stock or water (about 6 cups) (I used 1/2 low-sodium veggie stock & 1/2 water)
(I added 3 cups of baby arugula)
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan
the leeks, slice them into thick rings, then wash thoroughly under
running cold water. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan - I use a
cast-iron casserole - then tip in the washed leeks and let them soften
slowly, covered with a lid, over a low to moderate heat. After about 20
minutes and with some occasional stirring, they should be silkily
While they are softening, peel the potatoes and cut them
into chunks. Add them to the leeks when they are soft and let them cook
for 5 minutes or so, before dropping in the cheese rinds then pouring in
the stock. Season, then partially cover and leave to simmer for a good
40 minutes. (I added 3 cups of baby arugula and let it wilt through for 2 or 3 minutes.)
Remove and discard the cheese rinds, scraping off any
cheesy goo into the soup as you go, then blitz the soup in a blender.
Check the seasoning, add salt and/or black pepper to taste, then bring briefly to the boil. Serve piping hot
with the grated Parmesan.
Notes/Results: A simple but lovely soup with lots of flavor. The Parmesan rinds add a layer of taste without making the soup cheesy, which keeps it lighter and the arugula adds a happy little bite to it. I did cut the butter down to 1 tablespoon, instead of 3. If you keep the pan heat relatively low and give them periodic stirring, I find they don't stick and still brown nicely. Using a microplane zester for the cheese on top makes it airy and light and is a great way to get more cheese flavor with less calories. I blended half and pulsed the rest for texture but you could blend it all, or leave it unblended--whatever suits your fancy. This soup really hit the spot, I will happily make it again.
This soup will be linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs for the Rootie Patootie theme this next week--celebrating our favorite root vegetables with Nigel Slater recipes. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.
We have some fabulous friends and their dishes waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen, let's have a look.
Janet of The Taste Space brings this creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup with Vegan Bacon Chickpea Croutons and says, "Keeping things a bit more texturally complex, I ran with bacon-flavoured
roasted chickpea croutons! Because I was going to use the oven to roast
my chickpeas, I roasted my vegetables, too. It helped to free up a
coveted soup pot and oven burner, too. Light and fluffy yet still filling, the soup was as easy as blending
together roasted vegetables with some spices. The bacon chickpeas added a
salty-savoury topping that contrasted the soup wonderfully."
It's always lovely to have Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe here at Souper Sundays. This visit she shares a creation from her homemade plum jam, Tomato, White Bean and Plum Soup. She says, "I gobbled up the leftover tempeh bacon easily but was not sure about how
to use the sauce. Then again fate presented me with ageing tomatoes to
use and a surplus of white beans in the freezer. I blended them
together with some extra seasoning and served it with cheese on toast.
It was pretty good. I enjoyed the leftovers even more when I stirred in
yoghurt, smoked paprika and black pepper. It is more an idea than a
completed recipe but again I wanted to record it because you never know
when I will need ideas for leftover plum sauce."
A pretty and light salad from Pam at Sidewalk Shoes. She says, "I mentioned that I subscribed to Cooking Light
again. I am really enjoying it. I love paging through the magazine
and I especially love the tablet version with the extra recipes. One of
the recipes that caught my eye was the Salmon Salad on Arugula. It sounded deliciously simple. A perfect, light weeknight meal. The only
thing was that the arugula portion of the salad was just arugula with
sliced red onions. Raw onions. Yep, this is the recipe I talked about
Monday, when I shared the Quick Pickled Onions recipe. This was what I
originally used them for. They were amazing in this recipe!"
Foodycat says, "Not that you'd know it right now this minute, but the weather has been quite salady of late. Sunny, longer evenings, quite warm. All things that make a woman feel like eating sprightly vegetables with zingy dressings." She made these fun Tuna Taco Salad Bowls saying "I filled the bowls with a layer of refried beans, then a big pile of
leaves, avocado cubes, sliced red onion and tomatoes, dressed in a
vinaigrette flavoured with a little mayonnaise and chipotle paste. Then I
scattered on some pumpkin seeds and topped each bowl with a lightly
fried tuna steak. I have been encouraged to make this meal again."
My friend Sue of Couscous & Consciousness shares this fabulous portable Mushroom, Basil and Lemon Salad and says, "This salad gets plenty of flavour from loads of basil, parsley, and
lemon, a nice bit of extra texture from crunchy coriander seeds, and a
good kick of heat from some chilli. I used a small, hot chilli with the
seeds left in, but if you prefer just a whisper of heat choose a milder
chilli and remove the seeds - it's totally up to you. This would be a
great salad alongside some cold chicken or smoked salmon, or something
as simple as a crusty baguette to mop up all the salad juices. It would
also be great to take along to a barbeque - it won't mind sitting
around, and would be delicious with grilled meats, vegetables or fish."
And it was a salad kind of week here at Kahakai Kitchen where I made this spring salad of Baby Lettuce, Green Olives and Lemon Oil (with Chickpeas & Spiced Almonds). A simple recipe from Nigel Slater, I added the chickpeas and the almonds to make it a bit more satisfying for lunch. This is a salad with bright flavor and good texture, and I served it with toasted bread slices, spread with Spicy Feta and Red Pepper Dip.
Finally, I love lettuce wraps for their combination of salad and sammie-style goodness, Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog shares her healthy Vegan Chinese Lettuce Wraps this week and says, "I used small brown lentils for the protein, but it's the fresh ginger
and garlic that really make this recipe rock! It not only tastes great,
it's easy to make, nutritious, cuts down on carbohydrates by wrapping
the lentil salad in lettuce, and adds some healthy greens to your menu.
Perfect for part of a vegetarian/vegan dinner or a starter for any type
of dinner. Of course the recipe is gluten free."
Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, or sandwich or salad that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.
Have a happy, healthy week!