The Home Economics Bit
Leeks are a good food source of all three of the ACE (antioxidant) vitamins; i.e. vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin C. Antioxidants protect our cells from free radicals, which lowers the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, dementia and arthritis. Antioxidants also maintain a healthy immune system, meaning that our bodies are better equipped to fight off common cold and flu causing bacteria and viruses.
Potatoes are a naturally gluten free source of starch which is essential for energy. Potato skins are an excellent source of fibre, which provides a feeling of fullness and aids digestion. Potatoes are a very good source of potassium – a mineral that helps control fluid balance in the body and helps the heart muscles to work properly – as well as vitamins B1 and B6. Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is essential for a healthy nervous system; whilst both vitamin B1 and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) help the body to release and use energy from foods.
Leek and Potato Soup
- 50 g butter
- 450 g potatoes peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 small onion cut to the same size as the potatoes
- 450 g white parts of leeks sliced
- 850ml – 1.2l chicken or vegetable stock
- 142 ml carton of whipping cream
- 125 ml full-fat milk
- Melt 50g butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the diced potatoes and onions, and the sliced leeks. Toss them in the butter until they are well coated.
- Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss again. Put a disc of greaseproof paper on top of the vegetables (to keep in the steam), then cover the pan with its lid.
- Cook over a gentle heat for 10 mins, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.
- Uncover the pan and discard the greaseproof paper. Pour in 850ml of the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked – about 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh flavour.
- Purée in a blender until silky smooth, in batches if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in three quarters of a 142ml carton of whipping cream and 125ml full-fat milk.
- To serve, drizzle the remaining cream over each serving, and top with a scattering of chopped fresh herbs and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.