Leeks are apparently quite good for you. I tried to find out just how good for you they are by doing a little web search on the subject - here's a link. Ok, so I can read about how good leeks are, but what has convinced me that leeks have healthful benefits has nothing to do with a nutritional analysis - it's the fact that my husband now requests that I make this soup for him whenever he comes back from a long business trip (usually to China) because he swears it helps him get back on track with his eating habits (because he eats out more, and at irregular times, I think) and feel better after an exhausting trip. Since this soup also has garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in it, then you also get the fiber and nutrients in that as well. This recipe, from The Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver (who was just a kid when he wrote this one!) calls for dried chickpeas, but I go lazy on this one and make it with canned instead - just be sure to rinse the beans to get off the salt. It's great with Parmesan and a little extra virgin olive oil on top, and fresh black pepper. Dh likes it with sausage on top as well. Picky hasn't tried this one (although I always puree some for her just in case) but she has shown some interest, and I think she'll come around eventually, especially since daddy loves it so much.
Chickpea and Leek Soup
- 2 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed thoroughly
- 2-3 small boiling potatoes, quartered
- 5 medium leeks
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- extra-virgin olive oil
Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice in half from the root up, and fan them out to wash in between all of the layers. Then slice finely. OR, you can just slice them finely first, dump them in a bowl of water, swish handfuls of them around to get them clean, and then throw them all onto a clean towel. Guess which one I do. I'm not elegant.
Warm a thick-bottomed pan (I like to use my fake Le Creuset for soups - it's an enameled cast iron dutch oven), and add the oil and butter. This gives you a nice butter flavor, but the oil keeps it from burning - I often do this for soups. If you want, you can just use 2 Tbsp olive oil instead. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan and cook gently with a good pinch of salt until tender and sweet. Add the drained garbanzo beans and potatoes and 2/3 of the stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. You can eat it this way, or you can puree part or all of it. Dh likes it chunky, but I like to make it a little creamy, so I stick my immersion blender in there and give it a whirl, but not for too long, so that it's a little creamy and a little chunky. If you don't have an immersion blender, get one - you can't feed a texture-challenged child without one of these! OR you can just put some of the soup in a blender, blend it up, and then dump it back into the pan. Add more of the stock, until you get the consistency that you like. Check to see if it needs a bit of salt, and add some Parmesan to taste, or you can just keep that for the top, like I do.