Leek and Potato soup

Method

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them lengthways, wash them under running water and cut them into 1cm slices. Peel and slice the garlic.

Place a large pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1cm dice. Put the stock cubes into a jug or pan and pour in 1.8 litres of boiling water from the kettle. Stir until the stock cubes are dissolved, then add to the vegetables. Add your potatoes. Give the soup a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on

Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve like this or pulse until smooth using a hand blender or liquidizer. Divide between your serving bowls.

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Carrot Red Lentil & Basil Soup

 this recipe was sent in by Patricia Kovnats and is from: Cornucopia cookbook, vegetarian restaurant in Dublin Ireland)
Ingredients
1 onion
5 carrots
2 sticks of celery, including leaves
1/2 leek
150 grams red lentils
big bunch fresh basil (75-100 grams)
sunflower oil
salt and pepper
2 litres water
Roughly chop onions, carrots, celery and leek. 
Generously coat base of large pot with oil and place over medium heat.
Add chopped vegetables, stir briefly to coat with oil, cover with a lid, turn down to a low heat and sweat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add two litres of water and the red lentils.  Stir carefully to ensure that the lentils do not stick to the base of the pot.
Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down.  Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and the carrots are soft.
Remove the pot from the heat, add the fresh basil, reserving some sprigs for garnish.
Blend until smooth using a stick (immersion) blender.  Add water if it’s too thick.  Season with salt and pepper. Bring back to a simmer and serve.
Garnish each bowl with a sprig of basil.