December 8, 2012 by Jason Rice MD
This is the soup that got me into making soups. The original recipe came from my mom, and I have been playing with it and tweaking it ever since. The leek is a highly under-appreciated vegetable, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to cook with it, you should definitely try this recipe and get to know the leek. Leeks look like giant scallions, but have a milder, sweeter flavor with a hint of garlic.
As is always the case, this recipe is a framework for you to make as it’s written or to adjust to your family’s tastes. This version has no meat, but I have made it with chicken (a great way to utilize leftovers). I have added potatoes and rice as well. This version is my standard, go-to rainy day soup, and this is the way I make it most often. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you to make some new soups of your own!
- 32 oz unsalted chicken stock
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced (this is one recipe where I almost always opt for mincing my own fresh garlic rather than using the stuff in the jar)
- 3-4 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
- 2 cans of great northern beans, rinsed
- Worchestershire sauce (about a tablespoon, but adjust to taste)
- Black pepper to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 drops of hot sauce
The number one rule in making soup is to cook EVERYTHING in the same pot. You don’t want to lose any of the great flavors brought out in the cooking process by transferring between pans. I like to prep all the ingredients prior to starting my soups so that I can add ingredients as I go without stopping to chop, peel, wash, etc.
If you’ve never worked with leeks before, the one thing to know is that they need to be washed thoroughly. In the growing process, they collect a good amount of dirt in between their layers, so after slicing them, you will want to rinse them well.
I like to cut the two varieties of mushrooms into different shapes or sizes to add an extra textural element to the soup, but slice them however you like them best.
In a large stock pot, heat a mixture of butter and olive oil to saute the veggies. Start with onions and cook til they begin to turn translucent. Season with some black pepper and add the garlic. I like to add just a splash of the chicken stock when I add the garlic to prevent burning the garlic.
Next add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften. Add a few shakes of worchestershire sauce to the mix at this point and a little more pepper if you like. Once the mushrooms begin to soften, add the leeks. Continue cooking this mixture until the leeks soften a bit. Add another splash of stock if needed to keep things from drying out.
Once the veggies have cooked, add the stock and the beans. Season with a few dashes of cumin and a few drops of hot sauce (optional, but I promise, it doesn’t make it “spicy” – it just boosts the flavor). Bring the soup up to a simmer, and taste the broth. From here on out, it’s all up to you. Have a spoon handy, and sample the broth. If it needs a little more pepper or worchestershire sauce, add it and recheck the broth after another few minutes of simmering and see what you think. You can add a little more cumin as well, which will give a nice earthy flavor to the soup. In the end, you’ll find the spice balance that you like best.
This soup will warm you up on the rainiest of days, and as always, packs a lot of healthy ingredients into a delicious, family-friendly dish. Enjoy!