New World Leek and Pepper Soup

By on January 5, 2015

I call this soup “new world” because it’s a variation on the classic French leek and potato soup, using sweet potatoes and peppers, two ingredients that Christopher Columbus introduced to Europe during his explorations of the Americas. Serve small quantities as a prelude to a celebratory meal, or add a tossed green salad for a light supper. Serves 8. Vegetarian.

•    Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker
•    Blender or food processor

2 tbsp  extra virgin olive oil or butter    
4 large leeks, white part with just a bit of green, cleaned and thinly sliced 
4  cloves garlic, minced    
1 tbsp  ground cumin 
1⁄2 tsp  sea salt    
1⁄2 tsp  cracked black peppercorns     
6 cups  chicken or vegetable stock, divided    
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs/1 kg), peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes 
2  green bell peppers, diced 
1  long red chile pepper, minced (optional)    
Sea salt (optional)
Roasted red pepper strips (optional)
Finely snipped chives

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 2 cups (500 mL) of the stock and stir well. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
    Add remaining 4 cups (1 L) of stock and sweet potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until potatoes are tender. Add green peppers and chile pepper, if using. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. Season to taste with salt, if using.
    Purée using an immersion blender. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, do this in a blender or food processor, in batches.) To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with roasted red pepper strips, if using, and chives.
    This soup is tastiest when made with sweet potatoes, but if you prefer substitute an equal quantity of acorn squash. If you prefer, use one red and one green bell pepper.

Courtesy of “The Best 163 Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes”  by Judith Finlayson ©2013  Reprinted with publisher permission. 

About Charleen Wyman

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