Sunday, January 03, 2010

Recipe: Creamy Ham and Leek Soup (milk-free)

I just adore leeks. A mild onion flavor, without the tears. Before the allergy diagnoses, I used to make this creamy ham and leek soup that was just divine, great food for a cold snowy day. This isn't vegan, of course, because of the ham. But if you don't like ham, you can put whatever you want in it. And if you want it with the real stuff ("leaded" as we put it in our house) you can use milk instead of soy milk and put some Swiss cheese in it instead of the miso and nutritional yeast, and omit or cut back the cornstarch. The soup is fine without the cornstarch; I put it in because today we're eating it in bread bowls, and for that it needs to be thicker or else you end up with soggy bread with ham and leek topping. You can also thicken it with additional potato flakes, but that turns it into more of a ham, leek, and potato soup, which is pleasant, but not what I wanted. Since I was trying to duplicate a recipe I liked, I just didn't want any more potato flavor than it already had.

Creamy Ham and Leek Soup

1 bundle leeks (3 leeks)
4 Tbsp. margarine (I use Nucoa)
6 c. chicken broth
6 c. soy milk
2 lbs. cooked ham, chopped
1/3 c. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. miso
2/3 c. instant potato flakes
salt and white pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. cornstarch, + water (optional)

Wash and chop leeks; melt butter in bottom of 8-qt. stockpot. Saute the leeks in the butter until they start to become transparent. Add chicken broth, soy milk, ham, yeast, and miso. Stir well to dissolve miso and yeast. Heat until hot, stirring occasionally, then add potato flakes. Adjust seasonings. If thicker soup is desired, whisk 3 Tbsp. cornstarch with an equal quantity of water, then add to soup while stirring. Makes one 8-qt. pot of soup.