There is something very comforting about a warm, steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day. Filled with goodness freshly picked from the garden or recently purchased from one of my favourite farmers’ markets, it is not only in the eating that I find comfort.
It is really in the making of soup that I find a happy place. The cutting and dicing of vegetables into a pot, considering likely combinations which work well together goes delightfully with the creativity of adding spices, seasoning and stock. The simple pleasure of smelling it all simmer and bubble as the mix takes on a new life form, warms my kitchen and soothes my soul.
I often make soup from recipes that I have in my head – the old reliable ones like my special pumpkin soup, minestrone or cream of zucchini soup which I can make almost with my eyes shut are soups I make often – partly because I love them and partly because this is often what I have a glut of from the garden. Then every now and then I challenge myself to make something different. Potato and leek is a sure winner in our house. Recently I added spinach to the soup and whizzed it all up with the stick blender. Potato, Leek and Spinach soup was born, partly inspired by an internet search and partly inspired by necessity.
Why did I add spinach? Because I had some in the fridge which had come in our weekly fruit and veg box and it needed using up – so in it went. And it was delicious! Served hot and steamy, with a dollop of cream and some hot crusty bread and butter on the side it made a lovely easy meal one weekend.
It is very comforting to create a warm, steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day out of whatever is available and turn it into something delicious. Its even more comforting knowing that soup is very forgiving – I don’t tend to closely monitor quantities – rather I estimate ratios of one thing to another and then adjust to taste. If I don’t have one of the ingredients I will often substitute for another (for example, if you don’t have leeks, uses onions).
Here’s the basic recipe for Potato, Leek and Spinach Soup – adjust according to what you have:
Potatoes – what ever type you have – about 1 – 1.5 kg, peeled and chopped
Leek – one or two to taste
Garlic – a couple of cloves, crushed
Vegetable Stock (or stock cube)
A dob of butter
Water – enough to completely cover the veggies (and stock) in the pot
A bunch of spinach or silver beet
Melt the butter in a deep pot then place the leeks and garlic into the butter on a medium heat and soften for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock and water. Turn up the heat to a rolling boil and cook until potatoes are soft. At this point check the water/stock level. Remove some if you think it is too much and set it aside. Blend the mixture using a stick blender (or food blender if you don’t have a stick blender). Add the shredded spinach and blend again. Add back some of the stock if you think the consistency is too thick. If you feel it is too thin, then return it to a rolling boil until you are happy with the consistency.
Serve with a dollop of cream and your favourite hot bread. Enjoy!