Saturday, April 14, 2012

ZOMG Potato Leek Soup! (or Vichyssoise, if you want to be fancy)

Potato Leek Soup/Vichyssoise
So after posting about my CSA box the other day, the CSA gods decided that I needed to blessed with more veggies. My cousin Denise also gets a weekly box and was heading out of town this weekend, so she offered me hers. I gladly accepted. 

I was too lazy (and too busy) to take pictures of everything in this box, but one of the exciting items was a bunch of beautiful leeks. I immediately thought potato leek soup—even though it's already 80 degrees in Austin and not exactly soup weather. However, I've always been a rebel. And besides, I figured I could always eat it cold and call it vichyssoise (and then you would all think I'm fancy!). I scanned online for some recipes and finally settled on using this one as a base, but I decided to bastardize it...quite a bit.

All the flavors mingling together
First, although my original intent was to add the turnip that came in my CSA box, I forgot about it until I had already chopped everything and started sautéeing, and by then I was too lazy to go back a step. 

I began by chopping up three leeks, along with a small yellow onion and some fresh garlic (yes, from the CSA box!). I threw them in my pot and, since I don't like using oil, used some Chicky Baby broth (from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth) to sautée. Chicky Baby is pretty damned to die for, but if you don't have the book, then you can use vegetable broth. There are also some vegan no-chicken broths that you can buy, or you can make your own. This recipe looks decent. If I were using it I would probably omit the soymilk powder and just use plain organic sugar (if I even used sugar at all).

Anyway, after everything was nice and soft and sautéed, I plopped six Yukon Gold potatoes in the pot, covered them with Chicky Baby broth (again, you can also use veggie broth!), and let them boil for about 20ish minutes, until they were fork tender.

Lovely cashew cream sitting in my Vitamix
While they were cooking, I made my secret ingredient: cashew cream! This is one of my favorite vegan tricks to make things rich and creamy with nowhere near the fat that regular dairy cream has. Simply take 1/2 c cashews and 1/2 c plant based milk (I used almond) and blend. It makes a beautiful thick cream that you can use just as you would its evil dairy counterpart (well, I don't think you can whip it). If you don't want to make your own cashew cream (although I don't know why you wouldn't because it's super easy), you can buy MimicCream at the health food store (they also make a kind you can whip, but I have yet to try it).   

With my cashew cream made, I finally turned the heat off the soup. I used a knife to cut up the potatoes a bit, then used my immersion blender to get everything nice and smooth. And then—then!—I added the cashew cream. It blended beautifully into my soup, giving it a luscious creamy texture and taste. 

I topped my bowl of soup off with some chopped green onions, salt, and plenty of pepper. Once I started eating it, I decided to add a lil' Tabasco as well, which did the trick nicely. I instantly regretted not having made some fresh bread, but a toasted slice of Ezekial did just fine as an accompaniment, as did a spring salad with tomatoes and balsamic. 

And, YUM.

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