We've swapped recipes for awhile now so it's a safe bet that the soup was fat (literally and figuratively) with butter and olive oil and cream.
But hey! She's been married for 50+ years and has the physique of a 20-something. Maybe it's the soup! I rationalized. I licked the bowl and decided, on the spot, to try my own.
My version (the one in the picture) is accidentally less leek-ish and decidedly more healthful. (I did deliver a cream- and yogurt-laced batch to the east-side neighbors. Beforehand, I tried a spoonful. It was good enough though not swoon worthy.)
The recipe is a good basic start for your own creative soup-making, moving where the veggie gods take you. And I'll work on my neighbor for her recipe!
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 6 cups without and 7 cups with added cream/yogurt
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
3 leeks, cleaned (how to clean) and white/light green parts chopped fine
8 ounces fresh fennel, chopped fine
1 tablespoon garlic (from a jar, of course!)
2 tablespoons water
1 pound red-skinned potatoes, skins on, diced small
8 ounces carrot, peeled and diced small
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (the recipe specified tarragon which I think would have been perfect, certainly better than the savory I picked at the grocery)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup half 'n' half (optional, I like the fat-free half'n'half in soups)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)
Bring the broth to a boil in the microwave.
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over MEDIUM HIGH. When it's hot, add the leeks and fennel as they're prepped, then the garlic and water. (Less butter is needed when water provides a tad more cooking liquid.) Cook until soft and pungent, about 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes, carrots and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to MEDIUM, cover and let cook unattended for about 30 minutes. Stir in the herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cook another few minutes.
- Eat as is, lots of lovely lumps of vegetables.
- Remove some of the vegetables with a slotted spoon and puree the rest, preferably right there in the pot with an immersion blender. Return the vegetables to the pot.
- Puree the whole darn pot.
- If you're cooking ahead, stop here and refrigerate the soup to let the flavors meld. (A good choice.)
- Consider eating as is, without the added calories/fat of the cream and yogurt. At the very least, try it! Learn how it tastes without the richness and then decide. I decided to add a spoonful of richness on top, keeping the creaminess concentrated rather than diffused throughout -- this was more than satisfying.
- Or, add the cream and yogurt and let heat but do not allow to boil.
Per Cup (makes 6 cups), without cream and yogurt: 177 Cal (34% from Fat, 13% from Protein, 53% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 25 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 99 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 465 mg Sodium; 20 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 3 points
Per Cup (makes 7 cups), with cream and yogurt: 148 Cal (31% from Fat, 14% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 21 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 67 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 392 mg Sodium; 14 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 3 points
Note: Yes, the nutrition math is right, at least I checked it twice. The difference is the change in the number of servings from the two versions.
- Bringing the broth to a boil ahead of time saves a few minutes cooking time later. Skip this step if you're not in a hurry. That said, I often do it even when there's no hurry because it's quite often that the "active prep time" concludes at the same time the soup comes to a boil and can be left unattended.
- If you're going to puree the whole batch, then how large/small you chop the vegetables makes little difference.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
VERY adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2003