Saturday, 29 August 2009
I spent a ridiculous 2 and a half hours in a phone shop today trying to sign up for a new phone contract. It finally did get done though, and I am now in possession of a shiny new iPhone. In most Japanese phone companies, they'll give you a little present after you sign up as a thank you; it's usually more home related than phone related, the first time I got to roll a giant felt dice (the use of which was almost a prize unto itself!) and whatever number I rolled was the number of instant ramen cups I got to take home. This year they gave me a bag of fireworks (seriously! Absolutely nothing could go wrong in this scenario!) and a multi-pack of peach scented toilet paper. The presentation of these items was almost worth the time. Almost.
When I got home I just wanted something that didn't require a lot of effort and/or involvement from me, which made this soup (found in the same book as my last post, I'm working through it a bit) a good way to go. For a soup it really didn't take that long either.
6 medium leeks (about 1kg/2.25lbs), whites only halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, cleaned
850ml (29oz) low-sodium chicken broth
1 baking potato (225g/8oz), peeled and diced
190ml/0.75 cup heavy (double) cream
0.5 cup snipped fresh chives
My chicken broth was replaced with the ever present chicken consomme/stock cube.
On closer inspection I found double cream in my supermarket, but it costs three times the price of single or whipping cream, so I refused to buy. The difference between the types of cream is the fat content, heavy/double having the most at about 40%, whipping cream has about 30% and single going down to about 18% (-ish, for all of those), given that this is a soup I don't have to worry about beating it, so I went for the slightly lower whipping cream. For how we're using it here I think even single cream would be OK.
I didn't have chives, but they're just a garnish. I tapped a little dried thyme on instead at it was surprisingly delicious.
1) In a large saucepan, combine leeks, broth, potato, 2 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender (20-25 minutes).
2) Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, transferring it to a clean bowl as you work. (To prevent splattering fill the blender only halfway, and allow the heat to escape: Remove the cap from the hole in the lid, and cover hole firmly with a dishtowel. I was using my regular smoothie blender, so I filled it half way and kept the lid on).
3) Stir the cream into the pureed soup, and season with salt. Garnish with the chives (or whatever herb you prefer) and serve immediately.
If desired, you can chill the soup by covering it loosely with plastic wrap and chilling until cold (at least two hours, up to two days). If necessary you can thin the chilled soup with water, season with salt. This would be really refreshing in the middle of Japanese summer!
I originally had a cup of soup as you see in the heading picture, but it was so good I quickly realised that a bigger bowl would be needed!