Sunday, August 25, 2013

White Bean and Leek Soup

This a lower-glycemic, higher protein take on the classic potato-leek soup (vichyssoise). I found it very tasty and satisfying. The white beans gave it an excellent texture without any of the glueyness of the potato version. If you've never experimented much with leeks, you should give them a try. They have a unique mild onion flavor.

White Bean and Leek Soup
White Bean and Leek Soup

3 large leeks
2 15 oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups cooked from scratch)
5 cup water or veggie broth
2 bay leaves

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon pepper or other salt free seasoning
¾ tsp dill weed
½ tsp dried tarragon
½ tsp dried thyme
3 tsp veggie broth powder or bouillon (omit if using veggie broth instead of water above)

1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional, brightens flavor)

Prepping the leeks
Prep the leeks: Cut off a ¼ inch or so of the scraggly root end, wasting as little as possible. Cut off 3-4 inches of the dark tops and set aside. Take the rest of the leek and cut it in half lengthwise, then slice into very thin half-moons. Separate the layers with your fingers, then place in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water and swish around to clean off any dirt from between the layers. Pour off the water, refill with fresh, and repeat until you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the leeks. Drain thoroughly. 

Sauteing the leeks

Oil the bottom of a large soup pot. Add the leeks and the salt and cook over medium heat until tender (but not necessarily brown). This will take at least 10 minutes, maybe 20.

Making the leek-top broth

Take the leek tops that you set aside and wash them, separating the layers. Place them in a saucepan with the water/veggie broth and bay leaves. Simmer for anywhere from 10-30 minutes, whatever is convenient—I stopped when the other leeks were done. Strain, and discard the leek tops and bay leaves.

Add the white beans and remaining seasonings to the large soup pot. Add the leek-top broth from the saucepan too. Take an immersion blender and partially puree the soup, leaving a few chunks for texture.

Stir in the lemon juice. Let simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors, then taste and adjust for salt and other seasonings.

You can serve the soup hot with crackers or croutons.  This soup would also be very good served in a bread bowl.

White-Bean Leek Soup with crumbled saltine crackers

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