country potato leek soup


Oh, winter.

We have a rough relationship, winter and I. 

In the evenings, most any time from November through early March, I would prefer to spend dinnertime in the closest possible form to human hibernation. The temperatures drop, and while the warmth of a kitchen oven or stove sounds appealing, we want our suppers to be speedy so we can hurry back to that fireplace, wrap ourselves in blankets, and enjoy.

Seeing as I wasn't born a cuddly 400-pound grizzly (sheesh) who can sleep away the arctic months, and since we don't have the luxury of migration (at least until our senior citizen years), the best we do is be grateful for our ability to make comfort foods that warm us from the inside out. While heading to the equator isn't even a slight possibility for my attempt at keeping warm this winter, soup, and lots of it, will have to do. (Despite this January weather being as temperamental as a teenage girl lately, this one will be a standby to return to season after season.)

This recipe originally came from Whole Foods, which has a rather large index of possibilities when you're looking for healthy versions (sometimes) of classic dishes, or when you just aren't sure what to do with that rutabaga or rainbow chard that you couldn't resist purchasing. (Guilty.)

There is one minor (though tasty!) modification, and two soup-worthy additions (such inclusions we felt were worthy of a name revision), but otherwise the ingredients are as follows:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion 
3 large leeks, while and pale green parts, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 teaspoons salt
3 medium red potatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable broth/stock
2 cups rice milk (or, in our case, coconut milk ... SCORE)
1 tablespoon chopped dill
Salt and pepper to taste 

Additions a la Colin:

3 cups baby spinach (though, due to the way it cooks down, more could be added)
1 can chickpeas, drained

The creaminess and slightly sugary taste of the coconut milk, I found, complimented the caramelization and natural sweetness of both the onions and the leeks, and the chickpeas added a natural, hearty source of protein. The (simple!) step-by-step cooking instructions can be found here, the confident assurance that this warm winter dish is a winner can be found HERE, and the best advice I can offer is that you have a oven-warmed hunk of ciabatta nearby to round the meal off right.