To say we've been going a bit stir crazy would be an understatement. With a bout of flu which tore through my family, and the icy temperatures outside, the only opportunities we've had to leave the house in the past two weeks were to sniffle our way to the doctor's office (three times in four days!) So when warmer weather was forecast for last week, and we were all finally on the mend, I was eager to get outside in the fresh air and winter sunshine.
The park down the road from our home is a magical place. In fact, if woodland sprites are real, I'm sure they must live here. The place radiates life, even in the dead of winter. And endless trails wind their way through brambles and thickets and into dark, secret caverns near the water's edge. I never tire of exploring this place. It seems with each visit we discover something new. I like to make my way slowly around the ponds while my little ones ride their bicycles gleefully ahead of me. I'm fascinated by the park benches, each one dedicated to someone who is loved and missed. A memory - and I pause to read every placard. Like saying "hi" to an old friend I've never met.
When we return home, we are chilled but invigorated. As if the life within us has been re-awakened, and bursts forth with each excited breath. For lunch, I quickly whip up one of our favourite soups to warm us through again.
This Creamy Broccoli and Leek Soup has to be one of the easiest soups there ever was. I mean EASY. The only thing that could make it any simpler is if you used frozen broccoli, which you're certainly welcome to do. I prefer to use fresh and still it takes less than ten minutes from start to finish. With a good loaf of crusty, whole grain bread and a sprinkling of sharp cheddar cheese, this is a quick and wholesome weekday meal. Warm and filling.
Creamy Broccoli and Leek Soup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large leek, cleaned well and chopped
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 cups organic, whole milk
1 large crown organic broccoli
grated sharp cheddar cheese
Cut the broccoli into large florets and steam until soft (approx 6 - 7 minutes). While the broccoli steams, heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add the leeks. Cook until soft (3 - 4 minutes). Whisk in the flour and cook a minute or two longer. Whisk in the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add the cooked broccoli and simmer a minute longer. Transfer the soup to the blender. Remove the centre insert in the blender's lid and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Pulse the soup until uniform in colour, but still a little chunky. Garnish each bowl with shredder sharp cheddar. Serves 4.
Gluten Free Creamy Broccoli and Leek Soup
Reduce the olive oil to 2 Tbsp. Substitute one small white potato for the flour. Cut the potato into thin slices and cook with the leek until soft (about 10 minutes). Add the milk and proceed as above.
shared with: Hearth and Soul