Warm and hearty soups during the cold, winter months are some of our favorite meals to make together. Especially when they are accompanied by a loaf of fresh, crusty bread, hot out of the oven. To balance out the caloric heaviness of this time of year, Darren and I thought the following recipe would be perfect as most of these ingredients can be found in our harvested collection of veggies from the garden. Canning or freezing your summer and fall harvest is a fantastic way of being able to continue enjoying the fruits of your labor even if the plants and trees outside are now fast asleep. Beware though, you might wake up the next morning looking like Popeye after this meal!
Cream of Ridiculously Healthy Soup
3 tbsp real butter (margarine will be too oily)
2 leeks (white and light green parts only)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tsp of nutmeg
4 large red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 cups or so…)
3 cups of vegetable stock or chicken broth
1 pkg (or 300 g) of fresh spinach (no need to de-stem the leaves)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of whipping cream (in the carton, not dessert topping)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, melt your butter over low heat so it doesn’t burn.
Once the butter has melted, add your leeks, celery, carrots and nutmeg and cover the pot with a lid. Give this mixture a good stir every few minutes until all these ingredients are soft.
Now go ahead and add your potatoes and your broth or stock. Then give it another good stir, making sure every piece in the pot is nicely bathed in the liquid. Re-cover with the pot lid.
Raise the heat to medium-high and bring your mixture to a gentle boil. Let it roll for about 3 minutes allowing the potatoes to absorb the higher heat and begin to soften.
Now reduce the heat to medium-low and let all your ingredients simmer for about 30 minutes or until you can tell that the potatoes are soft.
Once the potatoes are nice and soft, go ahead and add all 300 grams of spinach to the pot. It might seem like a lot at first but as it wilts, it will not seem like so much anymore. Putting the lid on the pot for just a minute will help the spinach wilt faster. Then give the pot a few good stirs to incorporate the spinach into the other vegetables.
Transfer your veggie mixture to a blender, in small batches at a time, and puree’ this until smooth. If need be, add a small amount of water to the blender (no more than a 1/4 cup) to aid in the puree process. Once each batch is pureed, transfer it to a large bowl.
Once the entire vegetable mixture has been pureed, go ahead and pour the whole kit and kaboodle back into your large pot. Now, add your whipping cream and give the pot a few good stirs until the cream is fully incorporated. Heat the pot on medium-low heat just until it begins to steam.
Now is the time to add salt and pepper to your liking. I would add just a little at first because your broth or stock usually already has salt in it, then I do a tiny taste test. I do this a few times, until its perfect.
1 fresh baguette
2 oz (60 g) Canadian Brie
Butter or margarine
Turn your oven on to broil.
Once you’ve determined how many servings of your soup you’ll need, go ahead and cut 2-3 slices of your baguette for each serving.
Apply a thin layer of butter or margarine to each slice.
Put your buttered slices on a cookie sheet on place them on the bottom rack of your oven. Keep an eye on them until they just begin to brown. Then remove them from the oven and let them rest while you prepare your brie.
Slice the brie with a sharp knife into about 1/4 inches thick pieces. Cut each long slice of brie in half and place both halves on each piece of baguette.
Place the cookie sheet back under the broiler on the bottom rack for just a minute or so. The cheese will melt pretty quickly and you want it to melt nicely but not brown or burn so keep an eye on it.
Once the cheese is melted, remove the tray from the oven.
Ladle your beautifully prepared soup into bowls of your choice and top each bowl with 2 or 3 of your ooey-gooey yet crispy croutons. Serve this ridiculously healthy meal to your family and friends and receive your well deserved applause, ooohs and aaaahhs.