Vegan Potato-Leek Soup
This week, my husband and I traveled to the Netherlands to visit some family. Our time there consists of late mornings and later evenings, talking about books, walking through the perpetual twilight and admiring the pastoral beauty of this wee and wonderful place. The country is filled with everything quaint and Euro you’d wish for: dappled and cobbled streets, 500 year-old bars tucked into windy roman ruins, and bicycles upon bicycles. The Dutch are also way into wild game, and I’m not talking about raging games of pinochle. Imagine stews and braises with venison, duck, wild boar, game hen, and then top it all off with a heaping helping of dairy for dessert. Of course, upon our return to Brooklyn, our sleep-deprived and dehydrated bodies were craving a little vegetable-goodness. So I headed to the market, and pretending like I was still at the Vegetable and Flower Market in Nijmegen’s square, I gravitated towards some bright-looking leeks and concocted the idea for this vegan-version of a tummy-warming favorite. Lekker.
Vegan Potato-Leek Soup
– 4 small leeks (thinly slice crosswise white and light green parts only, compost the rest)
– 1 parsnip (outside scrubbed, then cut into a 1 inch chunks)
– 2 medium potatoes (I used Russet, but be brave. Skins on or off, scrubbed and cut into 2 inch chunks.)
– olive oil
– ½ cup vermouth or white wine
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tsp each of: dried tarragon, dried thyme, white pepper, yellow mustard
– 2 tsps salt (or to taste)
– 5 cups tasty broth (I love Rapunzel bullion)
– ½ bunch curly green kale, stems removed and cut into bite sized pieces
1) First, prep your veggies. Leeks are basically mild members of the onion family, but usually arrive dirty and and sandy like they’ve spent a day at the beach. Not to worry– remove the root end and thinly slice white and light green parts, and rinse under cold water in a colander. For the potatoes and parsnip (go to town with other root veggies you have around: Kohlrabi, turnip, carrot, squash, sweet potato. But if you want to be a purist, stick to light or white veggies for the creamy looking finish.)
2) Heat it up!: In a large soup pot or Dutch Oven, saute your leeks in the oil until translucent and fragrant, about five minutes. Meanwhile, heat up the stock in a separate pot or dutch oven.
3) Add it in: Pour vermouth or wine over the leeks and bring to a boil. Drop in the bay leaves and spices, then add the the root veggies (potatoes and parsnips), stock and bring back to a boil. Once rolling, loosely cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife and are starting to fall apart.
4) Blend it up: remove the bay leaves, and use an immersion blender to liquefy the soup. I like it to be super creamy looking, but stop whenever you feel like you’re digging the consistency. Taste it now, and adjust seasoning as needed.
5) Stir it up: Remove from heat, and add in kale, stirring till slightly wilted. Serve with crusty bread for a warm evening at home.