I love soup! I eat it almost every day in the fall and winter. I made a carrot-leek soup the other day that was soooo good, I couldn’t not share. It combines a bunch of yummy ingredients that are really healthy for the body and soothing for the soul.
Carrots are sweet and grounding so great for Vata (check out my previous post about Vata management).
Leeks and Onions contain a variety of health-promoting vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds. The latter are believed to support the cardiovascular system and may prevent cancer. Leeks and onions also contain “prebiotic” fiber which help to boost the good bacteria in your gut.
Homemade Chicken Stock (aka. “bone broth”) is a recent trend in the healthy food world but it’s been a staple of culinary traditions around the world for centuries. Something magical happens when you simmer bones in water for a while. Not only do you get a flavorful liquid (especially when aromatic vegetables, herbs and a bit of salt are added), you also get collagen, minerals and amino acids that are healing for the gut, immune system, bones, joints, hair, skin and nails!
Carrot Leek Soup
- 1 1/2 lbs. carrots
- 2 leeks, white and light green part only
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 1 quart homemade chicken stock, preferably unseasoned
- sea salt & black pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- Scrub carrots well (peel if they are not organic) and wash the leeks throughly. Leeks tended to accumulate dirt between their layers so pull apart and rinse well.
- Slice carrots into 1/2″ rounds, thinly slice leeks cross-wise and chop onion.
- Heat olive oil or butter over medium heat in 6 to 8 quart heavy-bottomed pot and add leeks and onions. Cook onions and leeks, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add carrots and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add stock and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook 15-20 minutes, until carrots are very tender.
- Puree soup in a blender or with an immersible blending device. Even though it is messy and requires more clean up, I prefer to get my soups souper smooth and creamy in my Vitamix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toast pumpkin seeds in the oven at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or in a small pan on the stove, stirring often, until they are golden and start to pop.
- Serve soup with toasted seeds and enjoy!
My Basic Chicken Stock
- 1 whole organic chicken, cut up into pieces OR 2-3 lbs. chicken bones
- one onion or leek, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
- 2 stalks celery, washed and cut into 2 or 3 pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 – 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar*
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- optional: 1 parsnip, 1/2 sweet potato, 1 – 2 small potatoes
- optional: a few sprigs of parsley and/or thyme
Place all ingredients in a large (6 to 8-quart capacity) and add enough filtered water to fill to about an inch from the top. Bring mixture to almost the boiling point then turn down the heat to very low so the liquid is barely bubbling. You can also make stock in a slow cooker at high heat and let it go uncovered for about 8 hours.
Skim the scum from the top with a spoon, if you like, while it’s cooking (or strain out the impurities later). Let simmer at a very low level for 3 to 4 hours. You can walk away but check it every now and then to make sure the heat is at the right level. If I use fresh herbs, I usually add them in the last hour. Allow to cool 30 minutes then strain solids out.
After the stock has cooled, I like to transfer to quart storage containers. Then refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat from the top (and save for later use!!) and either use the stock within a week or freeze for up to 6 months.
*The acid in the vinegar helps to draw the minerals out of the bones. Don’t worry, it won’t effect the flavor of the stock.