Wednesday, September 26, 2012

broccoli leek soup; a bridge between seasons

We're lingering here in the gap between summer and fall, friends.  The sun is gazing slant-eyed at us now, elongating our noontime shadows, fooling us into short sleeves when we should be pulling on sweaters.  So far, our fall has swept in with a grace unnatural to the tendencies of our northwest wetness, and the leaves have just begun their transformations.

I went to the farmers market on Sunday, as I've been lucky enough to do lately, and the foods for sale were just barely whispering autumn.  The greens and peppers and even tomatoes of the warmer months are still hanging on, despite the calendars warning that winter squash and root vegetables will soon be a plenty.

I'm beginning to crave warmer foods, steaming hot in bowls on the table, heartier and heavier than the light freshness of spring and summer.  But with the sun still shining bright, even at this late September date, I can still enjoy the final fruits of summers awesome bounty.

So I bring you a soup today, friends. One that will warm the chills right out of your bones and help satisfy those cold weather cravings.  But I won't let the leeks lead you straight into winter just yet.  There's broccoli, too, an anchor to warmer memories.


Broccoli Leek Soup with Toasted Pecans
serves 4-6
gluten-free, vegan

2 T. olive oil
2 large leeks, white & light green parts sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
large head broccoli, florets coarsely chopped, stems peeled & coarsely chopped
1 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 C. vegetable broth
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C. pecans, lightly toasted & chopped

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.  Add leeks and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add broccoli stems & florets, thyme and garlic, and saute about 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

  • Stir in the vegetable broth.  Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, until broccoli is tender, but not mushy.  

  • Cool soup slightly and transfer to a blender in batches or use an immersion blender to blend the soup as much as possible.  Pour soup through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down the pulp to extract as much liquid as possible.  Discard pulp and return soup to pot.

  • Warm soup over medium until heated through.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Ladle into bowls, garnish with toasted pecans and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve hot.

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