Soup is Magic

No potatoes, no problem

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

One of the most important things I’ve learned from my fellow Soup is Magic Facebook group members is that, at least where soup is concerned, rules are meant to be broken and recipes can typically be tweaked to fit your personal preferences.

Whether we’re discussing the myriad wonders of spicy squash soup, how to make stock for split pea soup, what’s in the bowl for fisherman stew, the best chili recipes, the psychological benefits of drowning the sorrows of being sick during the holidays by slurping a bowl of Cup-O-Noodles, or posting a plethora of mushroom soup recipes designed to keep us warm throughout the winter, the vibe in the group is one of acceptance and mutual admiration for what’s in the bowl.

Last Saturday, I was in the mood for leek soup, but didn’t have any potatoes and, due to Christmas fatigue, wasn’t keen to leave the house to get any. Since I typically only make leek soup with taters, I knew it was time to think outside the box. After perusing a whole bunch of recipes and scrolling through the Soup is Magic page for further inspiration, I embarked on a journey to make my own version of mushroom and leek soup.

After digging up four medium-sized leeks from the waning supply in my vegetable garden, I brought them inside to add to the other ingredients I’d gathered for my edible experiment—a medium-sized yellow onion, a bulb of garlic, fresh thyme and parsley, four cups of homemade chicken stock, a pint of cremini mushrooms, olive oil, salt and pepper, half-and-half, and a bottle of white wine.

In a stock pot, I sauteed the diced leeks, onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat. After letting the mix soften for about five minutes and stirring frequently, I added the chopped mushrooms and gave it another three or four minutes before adding the chicken stock, a couple cups of wine, and a few thyme sprigs. I simmered the brew for about another 30 minutes, adding more wine along the way.

When it looked like the mix was sufficiently cooked, I removed the thyme stems from the pot and used an immersion blender to puree the soup until it was smooth. Then I stirred in a splash of cream and salt and pepper, threw some chopped parsley on top, and called it good. 

Served with a couple of buttery slices of garlic bread for dipping purposes, the savory-yet-simple meal was a revelation of flavors—ones I didn’t have to leave the house to experience. I thought of reaching out to tell my co-conspirators that the earthy concoction left me more convinced than ever that soup really is magic, but I have a feeling that’s something most of them already know.

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