Fall is definitely here - the earth is littered with leaves of all colors, the trees are beginning to show their bare branches, and cooler weather is finally here to stay. I am head over heels in love with how strong the shifting of the seasons is in the Northeast - something that was so subtle in Florida. I have been doing my best to nourish and prepare for the upcoming winter by drinking warming and aromatic infusions, making sure to move my body on a regular basis, taking daily immune tonics (lookin' at you, astragalus), and eating soups - lots of soups.
One if my favorite parts about herb school is our potluck dinner - David invites us to say a prayer, and then we all line up, eagerly awaiting the myriad of 20-30 dishes in front of us (which, I do admit, leads to some not-so-ideal food combining). Anyway, I have been bringing soups as my potluck dish lately, often making a triple batch of whatever soup it as my meal prep for the week. So far I've made a carrot ginger soup with apples that I picked myself, a creamy coconut cauliflower soup that was quite the hit, and the soup I am going to share with you all today - Spiced Leek Soup.
This soup is rich in vitamin K, B-vitamin folate, and flavonoid kaempferol due to the abundance of leeks, warming due to the aromatic spices, and satisfying due to the nuts and unblended vegetables. Throw on some toasted walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprig of fennel and you've got a perfect potluck dish that is delicious and impressive!
// SPICED LEEK SOUP \\
Inspired by this leek soup + saved by my step-mom Mary's intuitive knowledge of spice mixing, which really brought the soup from mediocrity into greatness!
- The Aromatics
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 3 leeks, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves minced (and use the stems for a respiratory-supporting tea while you cook!)
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- generous shakes cinnamon + mildly generous shake cayenne
- The Bulk
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1-2 medium apples, chopped (I leave the skins on- that's where the bulk of the nutrients are!)
- 1/2 roasted walnut halves (roast the nuts before you get chopping)
- The Broth
- 1/2-1 tsp salt + freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups vegetable stock (I used full sodium)
- Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Once warm, add the aromatics and sauté until the leeks and onions are soft (about 5 minutes.)
- Add the chopped fennel and apples, stirring often, and sauté until the fennel begins to soften.
- Once the fennel is soft, add your toasty walnuts and let sauté another 5-6 minutes.
- Now add your S&P and vegetable broth, bringing the soup to a boil and then allowing it to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until your apples and fennel are your desired softness.
- Let the soup cool a bit and then blend about half of it in a blender, carefully. Taste the blended part of the soup and adjust your spices and salt/pepper accordingly (you can never use too much cayenne or turmeric in my opinion)
- Combine the blended portion with the unblended portion until mixed well. If eating right away, bring the combined soup to a boil and then let cool a bit - this will allow your newly added spices to mix together better! Top with optional fennel and/or thyme sprigs, and toasted walnuts
This really is a perfect fall soup, especially if you have access to an apple orchard and you can pick your own apples for it. The cumin and coriander aren't traditional fall flavors, but this soup really hits the spot on a cold NYC day in the office (and, although microwaves creep me out, I just learned you can safely microwave mason jars - hellooo warm homemade soups for lunch!)
With that said, enjoy this soup - and enjoy fall. Take time to be still, go on long walks underneath the amber trees, and take care of yourself. We spend so much time go-go-going, and, despite the fact that the holiday season (which begins with Halloween in my opinion) tells us rush-rush-rush, fall and winter really are about rest, quiet, and some solitude. Allow yourself to let go and sleep in a little bit when you can, or curl up with some Spiced Leek Soup and catch up on all the Parks and Recreation you missed in the past 2 years without TV (aka the only way I kept myself in bed and not go-go-going post wisdom tooth surgery.)
Anyway, until next time, and with love,