Thursday, December 8, 2011
Before the migraine marathon and the wheezing and hacking began, I was living on this soup from Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen: Cookin' for Trouble cookbook. I think it was keeping me alive and healthy but all soups do eventually come to an end... Here is how I made it.
The page the recipe comes from has a basic creamy (but cream-less) soup base for you to work with. From there you could choose to make the carrot-ginger, spinach or tomato-pepper version. I chose the latter.
You were supposed to cut two leeks into 1/4" rounds and there was no mention of washing them. I sliced mine in half so I could rinse out any grit and dirt. Then I sliced them into crescents instead.
I heated some olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. I sauteed the leeks for 5 minutes and deglazed with 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock. I brought the stock to a simmer.
Then I added 2 large potatoes, diced.
Then I added 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved, and 2 red bell peppers, chopped.
I simmered the soup for 15 minutes until everything was fork-tender. I did not realize I was suppose to add 1 tbsp of maple syrup to the soup. The layout was clever but at times confusing. I missed the maple syrup completely.
There is no way a hand blender, as directed in the cookbook, would break down this soup. Even with using my blender in overdrive I still had chunks of red pepper floating around in it. Make sure to season with salt and pepper to taste.
The soup was bright, healthy and made a ton. I lived on it for days. But, I found the red pepper quite harsh.
When I started adding mascarpone cheese to the soup (OK, now it is officially creamy I know) Reg did not even recognize the soup. He said the other was one was OK but this was a knock out. I totally agree. Perhaps the maple syrup would have smoothed out the soup but I know for sure the mascarpone did.
If you are on a special diet, you will probably be satisfied with the original soup. Me? I needed the creaminess to soften the edginess that the red pepper gave the soup. That said, as soon as I ran out of the soup my road to pneumonia began...
Without the mascarpone I give this recipe three out of five wooden spoons. With the mascarpone, I give it four out of five. I like the idea of the layout of this recipe but did find it quite unclear while I was cooking so I missed an ingredient. That said, it really is not a difficult recipe and would be great for beginner cooks out there. I just needed more. The original recipe was just too simple for me.