La Soupe de Velours Vert for Plurk
(Leek Soup)
A blended vegetable soup whenever the main ingredient ‘les poireaux’ (leeks) are in season. An elixir full of vitamins and minerals, and some “oligo-elements”.
A favorite recipe (origin unclear) that I put together for the plurkfood web site way back when. It was never posted there, so I am sharing it with folks via the scribbles blog.

Green Velvet Soup was a purifier, in the French repertoire of home remedies. Eating these “oligo-elements” helps to detoxify the liver so one will not suffer from ‘mal au foie’ or even worse, the ‘crise de foie’.

According to Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, leek soup is what French women eat/drink/live on when they want to shed the extra pound or two. The magical Leek Soup is, in her estimation, the Spartan alternative to overeating and for ‘recapturing your equilibrium from time to time’.

La Soupe de Velours Vert (Green Velvet Soup), so named for its creamy green appearance after it has been blended with a “robot Marie” (a hand held mixer) or in a blender. Cooking this soup in the pressure cooker helps maintain its high level of vitamins, minerals and those elusive ‘oglio-elements’. In case you don’t have a pressure cooker, though, I will tell you how to make it stovetop just the same.

Shopping List:
1. Leeks, about 1 kg (2 pounds)
2. Zucchini, or yellow summer squash (3-4 small ones, or a larger one w/o the pulp section)
3. Carrots, two or three nice orange ones
4. Potatoes, a couple of small ones
5. Tomatoes, four medium-sized
6. Spices: Herbes de Provence, sea salt (about 1 Tbsp), fresh ground pepper, bay leaf
7. Alternate spice mix might be a nice Italian Seasoning, like what is most readily available in the stores.

(Add most any vegetable to this soup, or any left over veggie. I have in the past added spinach, sometimes green cabbage, chunks of winter squash, green bell peppers, and sweet onions).

Herbes de Provence
(Dean and DeLuca has it…or in case you can use a prepared mix from the store):

* 3 tablespoons oregano leaves
* 3 tablespoons of marjoram leaves
* 3 tablespoons thyme leaves
* 1 teaspoon basil leaves
* 1 teaspoon sage leaf
* 3 tablespoons savory
* 2 tablespoons lavender flowers
* 1 teaspoon rosemary

Combine and mix well. Store the mixture in a small airtight jar in cool location.

Soup Preparation - Short Version:
Clean all vegetables well, throw in to pot and cook until tender; blend; and, serve.

Soup Preparation - Long Version:
Start by cleaning and rinsing the leeks well.
Leeks are a strange vegetable in that they trap some of the dirt they are grown in amongst the layers. To clean leeks, it isn’t difficult. T take a knife and starting about one inch from the rooted bottom, slide the blade in and pull straight up, slicing it open all the way to the top. Turn it one quarter turn and slice it up again—essentially cutting the leek into quarters without fully separating the plant. Holding the rooted end, wash fully (without having to deal with the mess of losing parts of it in to the sink). Then trim off the roots, and the very tips of the leeks, and discard those. Retain the dark green part of the leek, as it is very flavorful and gives the soup its beautiful color.

Chop the leeks in to smaller pieces, about an inch or two wide, so that they will cook and blend easier. Add them to the pressure cooker/stew pot.

Wash zucchini or summer squash, remove ends, chop and add to leeks.

Peel potatoes and carrots, chop, add to pot.

Wash and remove stem from tomatoes (or use one large can of tomatoes from store), add to pot.

Add spices.
About 2 inches of water.

Cooking Instructions:
If you are using a pressure cooker, put the lid on, seal it, and bring to a boil. Cook for seven minutes when it reaches pressure. After, remove from heat and run pot with cover on under cold water until pressure releases before attempting to open the pot.
If you prefer to make the soup in a stew pot, bring to boil, and simmer, uncovered for 20 to 30 min. until vegetables are all tender.
Once you have cooked the soup, either under pressure, or in a stew pot, be sure to remove the bay leaf, which is tough and will not blend.

Serving Suggestion:
Blend the soup either in a blender/food processor or with a hand held blender until it is a smooth green texture. It should appear like fine green velvet when finished. (You can, of course, eat the soup without blending, but it isn’t as nice to look at, and some people don’t like all the big chunks).

Top with sprig of fresh parsley, serve hot.
In Normandy, many will often put a tablespoon of ‘crème fraîche’ (sour cream) on the top as a garnish.

Bon Appétit!

(This soup also stores well frozen; to be unthawed and enjoyed later in the winter).

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