Potato, Leek and Vegetable Soup

September 26, 2011

Mama’s been so touched by all of your well-wishes these past few months, Readers. As have I. The outpouring of concern, prayers, care and love that you’ve sent our way is remarkable, and beautiful, and oh, so generous. I think it baffles Mama a little bit. “They don’t even know me,” she says, and I kind of have to laugh.  She’s not a computer person, my Mama, and so she doesn’t really understand how attached people can become on this Interweb thingy. How after a time, listening to the same voice for weeks and months and in and out of days, there’s a “knowing” that springs up, green and tentative at first, and then gallops like gangbusters, in ways you can’t explain.

I know it can be a dangerous business, letting people into the intricate details of a life, of a family, and it’s not that I haven’t considered the ramifications. It’s one of the greatest struggles I face as a parent/daughter/ blogger, and I know I’m not alone. How many of you have wrestled with the access you grant, how much transparency you can afford?

When I started this blog a few years ago, I agonized about it. I often felt I over-shared, and after I clicked the “publish” button, I wondered how much of what I just wrote would come back to bite me in the backside. But as time went on, I realized that a certain degree of recklessness is just part of who I am, part of my voice. As Mama often remarks (often with a bit of a cringe), I don’t have a “filter.”  People either find this completely obnoxious or sort of charming; there aren’t many in-betweeners out there. I’m an acquired taste. But I swear, I can’t help it. Any time I try to edit myself, it just doesn’t ring true.

I also share–freely–details of my family. Again, it’s a gamble and probably sometimes downright unwise, but I have such colorful characters in my life, it seems a shame to keep them under the covers. Whether Mama realizes it or not, plenty of you readers out there “know” her. And you’ve been so free with your emails, cards, prayers, treats and practical jokes (giggles are a gift, you know) that it’s made our heads spin. I’ve known for a long time that I have the most kick-ass readers on the planet, and Mama and Daddy are quickly learning that, too. Dang, we’re lucky ducks.

All this rambling is going to result in an awkward segue into soup. Sorry about that, but I’m fresh out of elegant transitions this morning. So sue me.

Umm, about soup. I’m not a huge fan. Unless it’s colder than a witch’s tit outside or I’m feeling some dreaded disease coming on. Then, soup is a capital idea.  I’m not experiencing either of those things now, but Mama’s tummy is a little touchy lately, so I’ve been experimenting with soup (and bug juice).

At the moment, Mama’s digestive tract isn’t a big fan of dairy, citrus, raw vegetables,  or assertive spice.  This presents a challenge for me, the Harlot of Hot Sauce. But hey, challenge is good for a girl.

Mama has the odious trait of hating being fussed over, so she tends not to tell me if she’s feeling poorly to avoid Daughterly Suffocation. So I have to sneak soup into her kitchen like some kind of criminal, but that’s kind of a fun challenge, too.

I’ll be donning my black spy suit and sliding a container of this soup into her refrigerator soon. Hopefully, Mama will forgive me. It’s how I show love; I’m a failure at verbal announcements of affection. If I love you, I’ll stammer around, flail my limbs, give up, and bring you soup.

I’ve been leafing though cookbooks, trying to find something nourishing that doesn’t contain any of the “fearsome four” :  dairy, citrus, raw veggies, heavy spice.

It took a little maneuvering, but I think this soup is a winner. It’s got a lovely golden color, due to all of the veg involved, and it’s quite delicious. I made this, ate a bowl, and put the rest in my freezer for my next stealth drop. Hopefully, she can eat this without a Zantac chaser. I’ll keep you posted. Poor Mama is stuck with me, but I know she’ll understand.

Love to you, readers, and happy Autumn.   You make our world go ’round.

Potato, Leek and Vegetable Soup
serves about 6

2 leeks, washed and sliced (white and light green parts only)
3 cups onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
salt to taste

In a large stockpot, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and the onion; cook until slightly softened. Add carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic. Lower heat and partially cover the stockpot. Cook until leeks and vegetables are caramelized and tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Add the potato, chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potato is tender and almost falling apart, about 15 minutes. Add the pepper and rosemary.

Puree soup with an immersion blender. Add salt and more pepper to taste. Top with a dollop of sour cream, if your tummy can take it.

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