...more or less as made on October 8th, 2009.
This is based on a soup I was taught how to make a long time ago. It's
pretty basic, with lots of things to do differently based on what you happen
to have kicking around the kitchen. I decided to modify this version based
on having watched several seasons of Top Chef and on a quick skim of some
soup recipes in Anthony Bourdain's "Le Halles Cookbook."
- 1 good-sized leek. Sing a Finnish folksong as you pick it out.
- 2 good-sized onions.
- 2 heads worth of peeled garlic.
- A small pile of little potatoes.
- Some kind of veggie broth.
- 1 block of some kind of tofu. Press out as much liquid as you can. Firmer
better. More on this later.
- Some kind of fake bacon.
- 2 cups of some kind of cream substitute.
- Pepper, salt, turmeric, spices.
- Earth Balance or your favorite thing for sauteeing.
- One bottle of some kind of red wine. I used a Two Buck Chuck cabernet.
Open the wine. It'll need to breathe, right? Keep telling yourself that and
pour yourself a glass to make sure it's palatable. Big pointy knives and hot
surfaces go much better with alcoholic beverages.
Thinly slice the white part of the leek.
Chop the onions and garlic into little bits.
Cut the potatoes into roughly 1/2" pieces too. Don't cut yourself! Knives
Heat up some Earth Balance (which I will probably accidentally refer to as
"butter," but it could be whatever) in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot.
Throw in most of the onion and garlic (reserve about 1/4 of the total amount
of each for later). Sautee until the onions are nice and soft and clear.
Don't burn them like I usually do on our crappy stove because it will taste
When the onions are ready, throw in the sliced leeks and turn the heat down
a little. You're going to just kinda stir them around with the onions and
garlic but mostly just let them hang out in there getting soft. You don't
want them to get any color here, just be squishy and nice. Yum. Set a timer
for 5 minutes (or more, whatever. I think I had them in there for closer to
10. This is the part I borrowed from Chef Tony B, who is my total food hero
even though he eats pigs by the sty-full).
Meanwhile, in a sautee pan, heat up some more Earth Balance and start
sauteeing the rest of the onions and garlic. If you think I am being a
wanker by doing this separately you could probably do the tofu part in the
main pot but I think it would break up too much and my goal here was to have
chunks of sauteed tofu floating around in the soup. This might also be lame,
but I have no idea since all we had was some kind of very soft silken tofu [ed: it was just "soft" tofu packed in water] that I thought I could press enough to get firm. It ended
up more like kind of squidgey custard.
So, yeah. If you have decent firm tofu, cut it into 1/2" cubes and sautee
with the onions and garlic until it's kind of, well, little toughish cubes
that will stand up to being thrown into soup. I don't know if this will
actually work since I ended up with a weird tofu scramble instead. Chop up
the fake bacon into little bits and add it here to taste. Too much and it'll
make the whole soup really smokey, but maybe you like that. I do! Yum!
When the timer on the leeks goes off, turn the heat up a bit so it's sizzly
and pour in a cup or so of the wine. Stir it around some more and pretend
you're an awesome chef deglazing things. Yeah! Top Chef, whoo! Then pour
in the broth and stir it around. Throw in the tofu/onion/bacony business
here too. (Deglaze that pan with some wine too if you want! Badass!) Pour
in some more wine, but save enough for another glass or two for yourself!
Now put in the potatoes. Also put in, oh, a couple of cups of water. And
some salt and pepper to taste. And a little turmeric. I dunno, do what you
think is a good idea here.
Now heat the whole mess to a boil, stirring. Once it's boiling, turn down
the heat to simmer. Go read some web pages or a book or something for a
while while it cooks down. Stir occasionally. Give it, oh, half an hour or
so and check. The potatoes should be soft by then, so squish some pieces to
release the starch.
Taste it. How is it? Add salt and pepper to taste. (I had to add some salt
here.) Add other things if they seem like a good idea. Make sure the
potatoes are edible.
Cook it down some more. It should thicken up. Taste it. Good? Throw in a cup
of the cream-like substance, let it simmer for a couple of minutes, and
serve with toast.
That's basically it.
It made for some pretty delicious soup. And hey! After nine months of garlic abstinence, I can finally handle garlic again.