…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work
Yeeeeeha! Soup season is at hand!
I love the fall for so many reasons – raking my leaves, seasonal affective disorder, football games… No wait. I’m sorry, these are all of the reasons I hate fall! Wrong post.
I love the fall because of that crispness in the air, big kettles of chili slow-cooked all day, big malty Oktoberfest beer, bbq, hikes in the Warner Parks, and… SOUP. I am a fool for all soups, cold or hot.
I remember growing up, we would frequently have a nice pot of soup at hand, my old man loved to make vichyssoise; it was always so good you never knew whether to eat it or rub it on your body. When I started out in retail, there was an amazing mom and pop gourmet soup joint in the mall called “Soup Heaven” – everything they had was amazing and I can still remember what the chicken/artichoke/swiss cheese soup tasted like – absolutely transcendent. Eventually it shut down; so wish I had swiped their recipes…
It’s always been a struggle here at the Sparks Compound as some of the best comfort soups I grew up with had amazing chunks of meat in them or were seasoned with great bones – doesn’t quite fly in vegan land… sigh…
So, when I am not making it myself, I am seeking it outside the house. This year I was able to find an amazing, new-to-me vendor of soup porn, King Market down in Antioch. It is a Asian Grocery store with a full jewelry store and Lao cafe inside. They make everything scratch there, including fresh noodles every day. Worth a post in its own right for sure.
I’m just going to leave these here as a tease…
For a while, I had been searching for a soup that captured most of my favorite flavors of the season and then I decided to take matters into my own hands –
BEHOLD! I GIVE YOU:
Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander.
Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a soup pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add beer and saute for another 3 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a low boil and cook for 15 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. When potatoes are tender, use an immersion blender to blend all of the veggies until the soup is smooth (or transfer batch by batch to a standard blender if you have not decided to make your life better by getting one of the greatest kitchen tools of all time, the immersion blender). Add milk in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Use the immersion blender again if necessary.
If you love food, crumble bacon over the top. Serve with some good crusty bread.
One of my favorite edits to this soup is to dump the flour, beer, cheese, mustard, Worcestershire, and swap black for white pepper – gives you an amazing Potato Leek soup that is great hot or cold! Freezes well, too!