Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Leek Soup

Red Velvet cake.
That was how I was supposed to spend my birthday.
Then I got really sick and spent the day in bed.  I ordered this big, beautiful vegan/gluten-free red velvet birthday cake, then drove my sick butt 20 minutes across town to get it.  I took it home, set it on the kitchen counter, and just looked at it mournfully before putting it in the fridge downstairs.

I think I got sick because of the perfect storm:

+ Went to chic bars two days before moving. (Side note: I'm mostly mentioning this not because I think it made me sick, but because I want to brag on the internet about how I went to a New York City speakeasy with leather couches.  Yeah, it had a mahogany bar.)
+ Dug through the attic moving boxes
+ Seasonal pollen

I woke up on my birthday feeling rotten, so I decided to make a slow-simmer dish to justify laying on the couch watching Law & Order for five hours.

- + leek soup + -

My guide to stocks will be helpful before making this dish.  Don't just buy veggie stock boxes.  I promise it will taste much better homemade.  If you do use a box stock, make sure it doesn't have tomatoes or sugar.  That will alter the flavor significantly.

+ 2 leeks
+ 1 gallon spring water
- stock -
+ 2 carrots
+ 1/2 onion
+ shiitake stems
+ scallions
+ 1/4 cup rough-chopped parsley
+ 1/4 cup rough-chopped cabbage
+ 1/4 cup napa cabbage
+ 2 bay leaves
note:  The above ingredients are what went into my stock.  Yours can have anything.  Again, see my guide to stocks link above for details.
- stock seasoning -
2 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
dash ume vinegar
sea salt and tamari to taste

Bring gallon of water to boil in a large soup pot.  Add stock ingredients, lower heat, and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour.  After 45 minutes, check on the water level in your pot (it should have descended between 1-2 inches) and add your stock seasonings.  Simmer another 15 minutes or as necessary.

In a separate soup pot, stir-fry chopped leeks until bright green.  If you're going oil-free, you can water-saute them.  I used olive oil.

Pour soup stock through strainer into your leek pot, covering your leeks and oil with soup stock.  Throw away or compost stock veggies.  Simmer soup another 10-15 minutes, taste for seasoning, and serve!

This was one of my favorite recipes I've ever made.

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