No, there aren’t little bits floating around in the soup. Yes, it does use up lots of little bits of vegetable that are floating around the fridge. Right now (and anytime really), I aim to reduce on food waste. That means finding ways to use up the odds and ends that can accumulate. While making stock is an easy one, it doesn’t use up the whole vegetable and hence there’s a larger amount of composting involved than for a soup like this that uses the whole vegetable to create body and give structure.
Since there’s a variety of veggies involved and that can get confusing for the palate, I like to give this kind of a mixed bag a very distinct identity by using a large amount of fresh herb. In this case it’s dill, but feel free to use whatever you have on-hand: basil is a natural, coriander is very nice and even mint can work if it’s a flavour you like.
Yield: about 4 cups of soup, give or take
What you need:
- 1 leek, roughly chopped (or a large onion)
- the bottom stems left after preparing a bunch of asparagus, the very woody bottoms removed
- a stick or two of celery, roughly chopped (optional, you could also keep a few of the leaves for spice)
- a potato, peeled and quartered (or use a 2nd leek or onion instead)
- olive oil
- sea salt
- a hefty amount of fresh dill (or other herb, see intro), roughly chopped
What you do:
- Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat. When hot, add as much or little olive oil as desired and all the vegetables. Toss it all around. Turn heat to low and cook, turning now and again, until just beginning to go golden (10-15 minutes).
- Barely cover the vegetables with liquid and salt to taste.
- Fit the lid and bring to pressure. Pressure cook 4-5 minutes and then quick release pressure. Careful. It’s really friggin’ hot in there.
- No pressure cooker? Afraid they’ll cause a bomb blast in the kitchen? No worries. Just cut all the vegetables into very small pieces and then go through steps 1 and 2 in a stock or soup pot. Now instead of doing step 3, bring your liquid and veggies to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until everything is super soft. It may not be as vibrantly green as if you pressure cook, but it will taste really wonderful nonetheless.
- Transfer the contents of the pressure cooker to a high speed blender. (A regular blender or immersion blender will also work fine, but it won’t be as silky smooth as the high speed.) Process until completely smooth.
- Taste for salt, adjust if necessary. Add the fresh dill and pulse a few times to incorporate. The pieces should be small but retain their shape.
- Serve immediately, with a dollop of vegan sour cream if you like.
- Add a large clove of chopped garlic to the vegetables in the pressure cooker or soup pot.
- Instead of using fresh herbs, add a teaspoon of a good quality curry powder when sautéeing the vegetables.