Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Creamy Broccoli, Potato, and Leek Soup

Creamy Broccoli, Potato, and Leek Soup at Paprika Red

I've been on a leek kick lately. Those tender, delicate vegetables add such a great flavor to so many dishes. Here, leeks lend a subtle, sweet flavor to a delicious soup - green broccoli, thickened with yukon gold potatoes. I've made potato soups before with the hand blender, to varying degrees of success - they often come out a little gluey or gummy. And broccoli soups can taste thin without the addition of butter and heavy cream. But this seems to be a great balance - enough veggies to keep the soup from being gluey, and enough potatoes to make the soup thick and filling. Just a little butter for flavor, and some evaporated milk for body, this is a great one for weeknights when you want something comforting, creamy, and healthy, but don't have a lot of time. Add some whole grain bread, or maybe a couple cheese-toasts on the side, and you have a great dinner.

Creamy Broccoli, Potato, and Leek Soup
1 TB butter
3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped into 1/2" cubes, about 2 cups
1 large head of broccoli, crowns chopped, stems peeled and chopped, about 2 cups
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6-8 oz evaporated milk
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Frank's Red Hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sweat the leeks with a pinch of salt until starting to wilt, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and broth, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli, and simmer for another 6-8 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Turn off heat, and blend with a hand blender until creamy. Stir in milk, worcestershire sauce, and Frank's. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed with salt and and a healthy dose of pepper, and serve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creamy Winter Root Vegetable Mash with Frizzled Leeks

Creamy Winter Root Vegetable Mash with Frizzled Leeks at Paprika Red

I love mashed potatoes. Creamy, rich, comforting, starchy goodness, they are at home on my plate any time the weather is under 70 degrees, which is often around here. But man (or woman) cannot live on mashed potatoes alone - we need our veggies, and mashed potatoes are starchy and can be very rich. On the other side of the coin, there are mashed potato haters out there. I know, sometimes I can scarcely believe it myself. Those that say mashed potatoes are bland and boring, like baby food. Even my husband used to say he didn't like mashed potatoes! (Don't worry, I made a convert out of him.)

But what if we could have it all - mashed potatoes that contain other wonderful veggies so they are more nutritious and not such a starch bomb, creaminess without being loaded down with tons of cream and butter, and definitely not boring? To the humble potato I've added celeriac, aka celery root, for nutty flavor, parsnips for earthy sweetness, buttermilk for richness and tang without high fat content, and frizzled leeks for that mild, oniony flavor and great crispy texture. A delicious side dish, perhaps delicious enough to convert even the most stubborn mashed potato hater!