Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chilled Cream of Leek and Zucchini Soup

Another recipe to use up those ever-invading zucchini. I have found lots of leek soup recipes that involved potatoes, but since I'm not eating those things right now, I had to substitute something to help add veggie-volume, and the zucchini that I got from the CSA last week were screaming, "Pick me! Pick me!" It worked!

This recipe serves, as a first course, six slightly inebriated hungry middle-aged Mermaids who are watching their figures...

Leeks, 4 cups, chopped
Zucchini, 2 to 4, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
2 cups half and half (*but to make it strictly Paleo, use Aroy-D Preservative-Free Coconut Milk)
Zest of one lemon, finely minced
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pot, heat the oil to medium heat. Add the leeks and stir around for about a minute, till it starts to soften. Then add the zucchini, also stirring into the leeks and oil. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat down a little, and let the vegetables cook for 7 - 10 minutes (depending on how much zucchini you used), until soft. You'll need to pick up the lid and stir everything around a few times to make sure it doesn't burn.

Add the stock, put the lid on the pot and let the whole thing simmer for another 10 minutes. Take it off the stove and let it cool enough so you can work with it. In small batches, run the soup in the blender (or use a stick blender right in the pot - my favorite method) until it's quite smooth. It's important to run small batches in the blender so that your soup doesn't explode through the lid!

Return the soup to the pot. Add the half and half plus the nutmeg, stirring in well. Taste for seasoning. I added about 1/4 tsp. white pepper, but black is fine, and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Add the lemon zest. Pour the soup into a container and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least four hours to chill properly.

You can serve this from a pretty clear glass pitcher and pour it into shorter clear glasses, or even martini glasses. Garnish with chives or dill and a lemon slice. You could also top it with just a little chopped smoked salmon or some caviar.

*If you make this soup with the coconut milk, skip the nutmeg, add some ginger slices and lemongrass sticks to the pot while it's simmering (but remove them when ready to blend), add lime zest instead of lemon, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and a few drops of chili oil.

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