I know that the words “comfort food” usually bring to mind gooey baked casseroles or thick hearty biscuit-topped stews–but for me, at this time of year, comfort comes in the way of clean, simple soups that manage to stand up to the weather and my post-holiday state of mind. It’s cold, the days are short, and I neeeeeed comfort, trust me. But after the excess of holiday eating I just don’t feel like anything too heavy.
So here’s a recipe for a vegan potato leek soup that falls somewhere in between. I adapted it from Levana Cooks Dairy-Free (Storey Publishing, 2007) by Levana Kirschenbaum. It’s clearly not in the cabbage-detox soup line of food–but it’s beautifully healthy, if you can handle the starch. And if you happen to be watching your starch, you can use celeriac (celery root) instead. I like to use both potatoes and celeriac, depending on what I have on hand.
One of the great things about this soup is that it tackles the stock problem in a clever way. I, for one, do not always have homemade vegetable stock on hand, and I’m not a huge fan of the taste of commercial stocks. Here, miso paste and wine are used instead to add depth of flavor without relying on vegetable stock. That’s nifty.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large leeks, dark green trimmed off, washed and finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup white miso paste
1 sprig fresh tarragon, leaves only, or 1 tablespoon dried
3 cups soy, rice, or nut milk
1/4 cup chives, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large heavy po. Add onions, leeks and celery, and saute until translucent.
2. Add potatoes, water, wine, miso and tarragon, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.
3. Add “milk” and nutmeg, and heat again, but don’t allow soup to boil. Blend mixture in batches in a covered blender (careful of hot splashing soup as you blend) until completely smooth.
4. Adjust seasoning, add more “milk” if soup is too thick. Garnish with chives.