bits and pieces

Monday, May 9, 2011

Curried Leek and Sweet Potato: Super Soup

I have a sick BF at home currently so I have been nursing him back to health with a combination of home-made chicken noodle soup and cruel suggestions he stop being such a baby. After two days of feeding him the aforementioned soup I started to get jealous. I like soup! Why couldn't I have soup too?? Well guess what self - YOU CAN.

Congrats, you're looking at my unfinished food, weirdo. I love you too.
First of all this soup is so stupidly good. I added an extra dash of curry powder at the end because I'm loco like that. This soup is warm, delicious, indian-y tasting, and full of happy yellow colour that just cheers you up. I ate a whole giant bowl before I remembered I'm supposed to take half-assed photos of things I cook to share with you.

The inspiration for this soup was two fold.. first fold - I had read an article about curried leek and potato soup. It sounded pretty fracking good. Second fold - before sick boy got sick he took me to our local (only) indian grocer and I picked up pounds and pounds of spices. I wanted to use at least  a little of them. I thought sweet potatoes would go well with curries and spices and I had a GIANT one in my potato-onion-drawer. As for the actual recipe I just kind of freehanded this one, making it up as I went along. So dear readers, please take note: as with all soup recipes, use this as a base and add to it what you will. That can be said for almost any recipe. Add things YOU like or that you think taste good. Not spicy enough? MORE CHILI FLAKES! Want to season it up? SALT FOR ALL! Seriously - use this as a starting point and give'r from there on in.

Everyone should try and make their own soup. It's SO easy and you feel so healthy and accomplished. Even if you eat this soup with 1/3 of a baguette covered in butter - you still feel like you did something good for you. Although - butter and baguette aside, this soup has no butter or cream, milk, whatever in it. Did I just accidentally make a vegan soup? (yes).

I know I say this about everything I make but honestly, try this soup next time you want warm and comforty.

NOTE: Anyone going out to buy turmeric, curry powder, chili powder, garam masala, anything indian seasoning related - don't go to the grocery store. Go to your local Indian grocery and get your spices + condiments there. I guarantee you'll get 3 times as much for half the price. Plusss you support local business which is always nice AND frequently they'll have delicious samosas or other goodies waiting to be eaten. WIN.

ingredients (looks like a lot but really I just wrote too much):
big splash of olive oil (maybe 1-2 tbsp)

2 cups of inch sized pieces of sweet potatoes. I had a HUGE sweet potato so I only need to use half. But one normal sized sweet potato should be OK.. mine was a monster. I left the skin on too as I've heard it adds nutrients and I was blending this anyways.
1 cup of diced leeks.. again I had freak-sized leeks so I only used one. If you have smaller (1 inch in diameter) leeks, maybe use two. For those of you who are new to leeks you want to use the white + lightest green parts. Chop off the base (has little roots on it) and chop off all the dark green leafy tops. You normally end up with about 4-5 inches of use-able leek. Wash these very well as leeks tend to have dirt in them (bleh!). 

3.5 cups of vegetable/chicken stock. I used vegetable but chicken is fine too. 
a giant splash of white wine that is bigger than you intended (seriously - maybe 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp turmeric (yellow + healthy!)
1 tsp curry powder (plus an additional half tsp for the end if you want to get freak-nasty)
1/2 tsp of cumin (seeds or powder)
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
a good sized pinch of salt + a few dashes of pepper

other things you will need:
a big pot to cook your soup in
a blender or immersion blender to puree your soup in. Everyone who makes soup should spend the 50$ on an immersion blender. They're awesome and I use mine probably everyday.. although it came with a whisk and a food processor attachement which make it incredibly useful - from dips to hollandaise sauce - I use this baby ALL the time. 
  1. Heat your olive oil over medium heat in your pot. If you can try and keep your oil in one general area of your pot. To the 'dry' area of your pot add the turmeric, curry powder, and cumin and toast for a minute or so. They should start to smell pretty fragrant. After a minute or so, stir into your oil.
  2. Add your leeks to the pot. Season with small pinch of salt. Stir to coat them with your spicy spice mixture and allow to sautee for a couple minutes. MMM yellow leeks!
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and cover with 2.5 - 3 cups of stock. Enough that the sweet potatoes are floating a little bit. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.
  4. The soup will have reduced considerably - add another half cup of stock if you need to + the delicious delicious wine. Add red chile flakes. At this point you will want to blend with your immersion blender or CAREFULLY pour into your blender and blend.
  5. Taste. You will probably want to add a good pinch of salt and some pepper. Taste again. Add more curry powder if you want a little more something. At this stage I added a good pinch of salt + probably another 1/2 tsp of curry powder. 
  6. EAT. You're pretty much a vegan now. Congratulations?

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