Monday, 30 July 2007

Leek Soup - easy way

NAME: _Leek Soup

1 leek
1 medium/large brown onion
4 medium or 2 large potatoes, brown skinned
50g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre chicken stock
salt, pepper

Peel the potatoes and put into simmering water, let the water continue at a low low simmer while you do the following steps.

Cut the leek top off at the point where the leaves open. Separate the leafy tops and wash all the sand out. There will be sand, make sure the leaves are clean, set them aside. You will eventually get to a central core that is tight and sand-free, so now wash that and the "stem" of the leek and slice them into 1mm slices. Set aside, peel your onion, dice that into small squares.

Put the butter and oil into a large pot and allow to melt, add the onion and reduce heat to barely sizzling, add the leek slices and allow to gently fry for five to ten minutes. Tear the leafy tops and add to the potatoes you have simmering and leave for another few minutes to thoroughly soften the leaves. Take off the boil and cool under water.

Put two cups of water in the blender and add the blanched leek tops, cube the potato into manageable chunks and put that in too, blend for around two to three minutes. Add water if necessary to make a blendable paste, and when ready pour this into the pot and stir in well. Add the chicken stock and salt/pepper to taste but bear in mind that the flavour will settle on simmering.

Bring to a boil, then put a simmer plate under the pot and reduce heat to barely simmering, leave for as many hours as you can, preferably more than three. I use a large slow crockpot for this, that way you can do as I do, prepare everything the night before, store, and then put in the crockpot for the day, when you get home your soup will be perfect.

Server with crusty solid bread spread with butter. I generally make this part of a meal menu, but there's nothing wrong with having this as the main meal. Serves 8 as a soup course, 4 as a main dish.

Cos it's winter here in the Antipodes, and this is a great warming soup. One day I hope to come up with a summer version of this, stay tuned!

I have two crockpots, and this amount definitely does not fit into the smaller one, so I generally save half of it in a re-used ice cream tub and freeze it so I have a quick soup I can just fetch out one morning and have a soup by evening.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: have not been taken, as quantities may vary. The meal as cooked and if used for 8 portions has about 1/4 a serve of fats per serving.

Friday, 13 July 2007



1 1/2 cups pasta spirals
1 cup strong chicken stock
6-8 small potatoes skin-on, washed
300g - 500g chicken pieces off the bone
24 stalks onion flowers (approximately - small bunch)
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped mixed celery and celery tops
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 ripe avocado
1 small brown onion (or 1/2 medium brown onion)
splash extra virgin olive oil

Roughly chop the onion flowers and stalks and place in blender with teaspoon of salt, olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice. Blend for a few minutes, adding a drizzle of water if necessary to make a creamy consistency.

Chop the chicken into 1.5cm - 2cm cubes, place in a bowl, and pour the marinade over. Stir well to ensure all the chicken gets covered and cover and refrigerate for several hours.

When ready to begin, start the potatoes in a few litres of clean salted water, keep an eye and slow to simmering as soon as simmering starts.

Meanwhile chop the onion small, put in the pan with the tablespoonful of olive oil, start frying. Once onion is glassy, add half the parsley and half the chopped celery. Reduce heat to a gentle sizzle. Now take the chicken pieces from the marinade (but preserve the marinade don't throw it out yet) and place on aluminium foil under the grill. Scoop the avocado out and mash it with a fork to paste. Add a tablespoonful of the marinade to the avocado mash, mix together, and add this to the onion/celery/parsley and stir through. Increase the heat, stir for five minutes. Add the chicken stock and about half a cup of water. Turn the chicken under the grill when it starts to brown, until all sides are reasonably browned.

By now the potatoes will be half cooked, lift them from the water with a slotted spoon, turn up the heat, and put the pasta spirals in the water. Cool the potatoes and slice about 1/2cm thick, layer these in the bottom of a small deep casserole dish. Add the chicken on top, set aside.

Using a fork, mash the onion/celery/parsley sauce slightly, and then use the fork to lift solid bits out of the sauce and layer onto the chicken and potato. Pasta will now be ready so drain it (don't rinse) and put aside. Go back to the sauce, fine chop the remaining celery amd parsley and add that to the sauce, taste and add salt or more marinade to taste.

Put the well drained pasta on top of the potato and chicken, and spoon the sauce over evenly. Cover the casserole and place in the oven at 170 - 180 for 45 minutes to an hour, then uncover and bake for another 20 - 30 minutes.

Serve immediately, digging down through the layers to get someof everything. Serve this with a steamed leafy green to keep to the green theme, and this serves four people.

You may prefer less tang to the flavour in which case reduce the amount of vinegar not the amount of lime juice and add more water to get the consistency right. If you follow through my recipe the timings of everything will be pretty spot on - I've made this a few times now and it just sort of works out...

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Not taken. High in fats due to the avocado but it's the right kinds of fat.
FATS:____ CARBS:____ FIBRE:____
Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


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