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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Leek and Bean Soup

I hate raw onions. Having said that, my friends have extolled the flavors and likability of leeks. Up until a few months ago, I had not knowingly tried this vegetable that looks like a chive on steroids. I mixed the chopped goodie into a salad and gagged. It tasted like an onion.
Monthly, I receive a delivery of fresh fruit and veg from an organic farm in the area (Farm Fresh To You). To my disappointment, they gave me two large leeks in my package. Determined to make friends with this bulbous tuber, I remembered that I do like French Onion soup and The Chew offered a white bean soup recipe that seemed doable. I decided to merge the two. The results are yummy.
Oil – Extra Virgin Olive is my favorite
Black Pepper—Fresh ground
1 to 2 Large Leeks—sliced in nice circles
6 Stalks of Celery—coarsely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves—smashed and chopped
½ Large Yellow or White Onion—finely chopped
1 Quart Organic Vegetable Stock
Herbs—your choice. I like bay leaf, basil, caraway seed, and cayenne pepper.
Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with oil add leeks, onions, and celery.  Make sure there is enough oil to coat everything. Cook, stirring occasionally, on the stove at medium high heat for at least 20 minutes to caramelize the onions, soften the celery, and un-spiral the leeks. Add pepper and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes more.  NOTE: I do not salt my cooking. If I want more salty flavor I add more celery.  You can salt to your heart’s lament. 
NOW you have a choice at this point to transfer everything to a crock pot on low adding in the vegetable stock & herbs. OR keep everything in the pot adding in the vegetable stock & herbs. Cover and cook on low heat for about three hours. The first choice, you can go shopping. The second, you stay home and clean the house or write a blog.
When everything is hot, soft and yummy. 4 hours in a crock pot. 3 hours on the stove.
2 Rinsed Cans of White Beans, or Garbanzo Beans, or Your Favorite.  If you hate canned, then prep your fresh or dried beans the day before. Canned is faster.
Mix all.  Take 3 cups of the soup and dump it into a food processor and puree. Add it back into the soup. Mix and leave the soup on warm.

When serving in individual bowls sprinkle cheese (fresh, grated or veggie) on the top. I like Cashew Cheese or Feta. Both are yummy. Serve with a slice of hearty bread. Enjoy! Makes a great meal for Christmas Eve before Church.