Something about eating whole foods especially in the form of soup, makes you feel cleansed and proper. People have said chicken soup helps heal you when you have the common cold, and I had always felt its benefits. I had no idea what actually helped, maybe it was just the gesture of the one preparing the soup for me while I was sick, or was it the warmth of the soup, or was it the ingredients? I had no idea. Not until recently did I learn that it is the actual chicken broth that holds the healing properties (research the GAPs diet).
So once in awhile, or at least once a month, I get to prepare a lovely vegetable rich soup based upon healthful homemade chicken stock. This last week from the Prescott Farmer's Market, I tried out some new things... which I am totally fond of now. I purchased leeks and two different varieties of potatoes (a purple and red), along with things I've bought before (carrots, garlic).
After rediscovering leeks, I want to cook them all the time now. My first experience was kind of sad, but worked out in the end. I didn't know that they grew in a sandy soil, and I didn't know how much rinsing they really needed. So I tossed them in the pot to be cooked, and I was totally astonished to see sand everywhere. I thought my food was ruined. I hadn't added any other ingredient in yet, so I just tossed it back out to be rinsed again, washed the soup pot, and started again with new butter, this time carefully eyeballing it to make sure no sand magically appeared again. I was safe. It was delicious too, but that experience scared me off from leeks for a long time until this last week.
This soup is truly a Farmer's Market Medley, with leeks, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, and a lightly spicy broth. The fat agent I used is coconut oil, but butter or olive oil may also be used. The secret spices to the soup, or to any of my soups really, are ground nutmeg and red chili flakes, because I think they add a nice depth of flavor. Also, if you have a meat lover in the family, cooked chicken from a previous meal can be added before the lid goes on, and reheated through in the broth.
Leek, Carrot, and Tomato Soup
Time: 30 - 45 min Serves: 4 - 6Cook's Note: If you have leftover roast chicken, it tastes great added to this soup.
Gluten-Free | Vegetarian Option (Substitute Vegetable Broth)
Ingredients:2 tbsp coconut oil
3 small leeks, sliced and double rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3 small potatoes, I used purple and red varieties, diced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
6 cups chicken broth, homemade or a low sodium brand, heated
1 - 2 bay leaves
1, 8 oz can stewed whole tomatoes (about 5 or 6 tomatoes)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp cumin (add up to 2 tsp depending on taste)
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
How To:Over medium heat, place a dutch oven or soup pot. Add coconut oil to heated pot. Let oil heat for about 3 minutes.
Add leeks and saute for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic. Saute for two more minutes. Add in carrots, potatoes, and celery. Saute for another 10 minutes.
Pour 2 cups of the heated broth into the dutch oven or soup pot. Add in the bay leaves. Let the mixture boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the rest of the chicken broth. Add the stewed whole tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, red chili flakes, and ground nutmeg. Break up the stewed tomatoes with the back of the cooking utensil, to distribute more evenly in the soup.
Drop heat down to medium-low. Cover pot, and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are softened. Stir occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Serve with toasted garlic bread.