by Miche Genest
I made this soup with the foods I happened to have in the fridge that needed using up: half a zucchini, half a leek, mashed potatoes, a cup of 35% cream leftover from making caramel sauce and ground, dried rosemary left over from making duck rilettes.
But this recipe is more a route than a trail, a rough guide rather than a precise, GIS-plotted path. Substitute whatever you’ve got going — wilted celery sticks, tired Swiss chard, roasted potatoes from last night’s dinner. At the end, jazz it up with a pinch of cayenne or a grating of nutmeg, or both.
Tip: The best way to wash leeks is to cut them in half lengthwise, slice thinly and soak in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. To drain, lift the sliced leeks from the water into a strainer or colander and shake off excess water before proceeding with the recipe.
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil*
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
- 1 leek, white part only (about 1½ cups or 350 mL) halved lengthwise, sliced, washed and shaken dry
- Half a large zucchini, quartered and sliced (about 1½ cups or 350 mL)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ tsp (7.5 mL) dried rosemary (substitute thyme or dill — whatever!)
- 2 cups (480 mL) chicken stock (aren’t you glad you saved those bones and made stock?)
- 2 packed cups (480 mL) leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 cup (250 mL) 35% cream (substitute milk or 10% cream or neutral rice milk*, whatever you’ve got)
- Salt and pepper to taste*
- A pinch of cayenne and a fresh grating of nutmeg*
* Not a local ingredient
- Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir in leek and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add zucchini and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add whatever herbs you’re using.
- While the vegetables are cooking, heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until it steams. Add stock to vegetables, cover, and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low and whisk in mashed potatoes. Don’t worry if there are lumps. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, or press through a fine-meshed sieve.
- Return to the pot and to the heat, and whisk in cream or milk. Cover and bring to a low boil once more, whisking periodically. Add more milk or cream as necessary to thin the soup.
- Remove from heat, taste, add salt and pepper as necessary, and finish with cayenne and a fresh grating of nutmeg, if you like.
Makes about 6 cups, enough for 6 servings.