Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Creamy Leek Soup and a bit about Onion Goggles

So I had these leeks that had been in the refrigerator for about 2 1/2 weeks. DH had gone to the market before Christmas and he mis-read my list - I wrote 6 leeks. He thought it was 6 bunches of leeks. Sigh. So I had a heck of a lot of leeks. They weren't all that attractive, I'll admit, since the outer layers had become wet and mushy. But the interior, the part we use in cooking, was just fine. A couple of months ago I made a leek and Kielbasa soup, but I didn't have any Kielbasa, so wanted to use what I had on hand. I found a recipe on Epicurious that utilized many of the ingredients I did have, so I altered the recipe some (added pancetta, coconut milk, and some fat-free half and half) and deleted the items I didn't want (potato, whipped cream garnish).

Then I got out my magic (onion goggle) glasses. Ta-da.

If you haven't seen these, you're missing a VERY good thing. I was skeptical they'd work since I cry buckets when I peel and chop onions. What was wonderful, though, was that I could SMELL the onion, but I got none of the biting tears. They're a wonder! I took several snapshots of myself with them on, but every one was so positively ugly I couldn't make you look at a one of them. I look like an owl. But thankfully, you only have to wear them for a few minutes. They come in colors - mine are green and white, as you can see. Get thyself to a kitchenware store soon and buy a pair of these. And go chop some onions.

Creamy Leek Soup
Recipe: loosely based on a recipe from food editor Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez at epicurious.com
Servings: 6-8
3 pounds leeks -- trimmed, leaving white and pale green parts only, chopped
1 medium onion -- chopped
2 large carrots -- chopped
2 large celery ribs -- chopped
4 ounces pancetta -- cubed or minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup dry vermouth
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth -- or beef broth
3 cups water
1 Turkish bay leaf -- or 1/2 California
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
14 ounces light coconut milk
[I also added about 1 cup of fat-free half and half)
1. Wash sliced leeks in a large bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out and drain well in a colander.
2. Cook leeks, onion, carrot, celery, pancetta, salt, and pepper in 4 tablespoons butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add wine, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in parsley and simmer soup, uncovered, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and keep soup at a bare simmer.
4. In a covered jar, shake the 1/4 cup flour with the coconut milk until smooth. Add some water if the mixture is too thick. Add to soup, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until thickened.
5. Blend soup in 4 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), about 1 minute per batch, transferring to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Reheat if necessary, then season with salt and pepper.
NOTES : Soup is best when made 1 to 3 days ahead (to allow flavors to develop). Chill soup, uncovered, until completely cooled, then cover. Reheat, thinning with water if necessary. Yield: approximately 15 cups.
Per Serving (based on 6 main course servings): 277 Calories; 14g Fat (44.5% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 34mg Cholesterol; 947mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 3 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat.
To print a PDF recipe, click title at top.


ann said...

I've long wondered if those goggles worked! I don't have a huge problem with onions making me cry, but I do love the idea of onion goggles. Only problem is, I'd probably lose a finger because I'd have to take my glasses of and I'm as blind as a bat. Perhaps the onion tears aren't so bad after all.
I love the story about your husband. Men are so fun to keep around (when you don't want to strangle them that is ;-)

Carolyn T said...

Ann - well, I wear regular glasses too. I'm just very careful when I use the goggles. I position the knife gently before making the first slice, and am slower at the process than usual. But it works. Have had no mishaps. And yes, my DH is a joy to live with most of the time. The fact that he's willing to grocery shop for me allows me to be forgiving when he makes a mistake. It's taken several years to "train" him on my favorite brands, and how to choose some things.

Anonymous said...

WHERE did you find these???
Onions just kill my eyes, and then the mascara does the 2nd attack wave, and I'm blind, wiping both my eyes and nose, and looking ever so lovely -NOT! Please share where we can find these lovely gems!