Roasted Potato Leek Soup

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Now what you’ve got here is a big, hearty bowl of comfort! Roasted Potato Leek Soup will really warm you up this winter. And yes…it is still winter. It snowed yesterday and I hear it will be snowing again this Wednesday. And we haven’t had any cool snow at all this winter. You know the scenario where there is just enough snow to make everything look pretty and get work cancelled yet  a small enough amount that it’s completely melted in a couple of days? No, all that has shown up this winter are trifling little wet flakes that don’t amount to anything and are just plain annoying. Having a big old pot of this rustic, delicious soup goes a long way toward soothing those winter frayed nerves. I have eaten many a bowl of it in Ireland and thought it would be great to add to my St. Patrick’s Day countdown.

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But this soup is a little different from many of those which I consumed in various pubs across Ireland. In this creation, the potatoes and leeks are roasted before being added to the soup, which really enhances their flavours. And this lovely soup also has a surprise ingredient in it, Arugula or Rocket as it is often called in Europe. ( I think Rocket sounds better than Arugula, so I’m going to go with that for the rest of this post). When I first came across this recipe, I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about the addition of Rocket, but decided to go ahead and give it a try. I’m so glad I did because that peppery taste of that herb really adds that extra something to this vibrant, fresh tasting Potato & Leek soup. Oh and white wine, cream and parmesan cheese also show up in the list of ingredients, so you know this soup has to be unbelievably tasty!

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As it turns out, this soup not only tastes fantastic, but it is also good for you. Right now I’m sure you’re thinking, “yeah right…a cream based soup is good for me”. But I’m telling you it is. This soup has leeks, which everyone knows we love in this house. Leeks are part of the Alliaceae family along with garlic and onions. But leeks have a much more delicate, sweet flavour to them than their better known cousins. They are actually one of the most nutritious winter vegetables to be had. They are high in fiber, a good source of antioxidants, folate, vitamin C, B6, K, manganese and iron. I can tell your eyes are glazing over a bit now, but hang in there for just a second. Some of the health benefits of all those things I just rattled off are, lowering and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure and risk of Coronary Artery Disease and lowering the risk of low-level inflammatory  states like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Pretty impressive list huh?  But besides leeks, this soup also has a bunch of Rocket mixed in. Now Rocket has been grown as an edible herb since Roman times and was rumoured to be an aphrodisiac! Virgil states that “rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people”. It was likely this belief that lead to the prohibition of its cultivation in monastic gardens in the Middle Ages. Rocket has a rich peppery taste and is often eaten raw in salads, and it is actually a much more nutritious choice than most other salad greens. For instance, when you compare it to iceberg lettuce, you will find that Rocket has 8X more calcium, 5X more vitamin A, C and K and 4X the iron! Wowza! And although most folks do think of it as a salad green, it is actually classified as a cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These type of vegetables aid in the regulation of your immune system functions, which can protect you against cancers. Not to mention, like Kale, it is a good source of antioxidants. So there you have it! Healthy, Delicious and comforting! A combination not often found. You can serve this soup sprinkled with chives and accompanied with a lovely piece of butter slathered Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread as I did. Or you could garnish it with some nice crispy crumbled bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless. I think I’ll just throw another log on the fire now and tuck in a big bowl of that divine Roasted Potato Leek Soup. Surely Spring is just around the corner!

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Roasted Potato Leek Soup

recipe from: Dough-Eyed Girls

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, cleaned (about 4-5 large leeks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups baby arugula (rocket), lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan

Directions:

Roast potatoes and leeks in olive oil and pepper at 400° F for 40-45 minutes, or until tender. Add Arugula/Rocket and roast for 5 more minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a bowl, adding the wine and 5 cups of the chicken broth. Be sure to scrape the pan clean of all the crispy bits – these add tons of flavor!

Puree the vegetables and stock until smooth in a food processor or blender. Transfer to large pot. I actually transferred my roasted vegetables directly to a large pot, added the broth and then used an immersion blender to puree.

Add stock until the consistency reaches a thick soup, and add cream and parmesan. Heat, covered until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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