Tasty Tuesdays – Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and potato soup is a classic dish!  The additions in this version of the recipe enhance the depth and flavour, without impeding on the ease of preparation.  With the colder weather approaching, this soup is not only comforting but full of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy during the chilly days ahead.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet white onion
  • 3 leeks
  • 5 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup mascarpone
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a soup pot.
  • Roughly chop the white onion and leeks (only use the white portion of the leek).
  • Saute both onions in the soup pot for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Chop the unpeeled potatoes into 1 inch cubes and add to the soup pot.
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Cover (with lid slightly ajar) and simmer for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Remove from heat and use a hand blender to puree.
  • Stir in the mascarpone, yogurt and milk until combined.
  • Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, and a little salt.

Interesting Facts

Potatoes are considered a comfort food by many, which may stem from their Latin name that translates to soothing.  This member of the nightshade family is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, originating in the Andean mountain regions of South America some ten thousand years ago (Ames and Spooner, 2008).  It is one of the most highly cultivated vegetable crops in the world because there are hundreds of nutritious varieties that are capable of growing at varying altitudes year round (FAO, 2008).  This important staple crop contains dietary fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, E and K (USDA, 2012).  Synthesis and formation of DNA is vital in the human body and the potatoes high concentration of vitamin B6 provides the proper tools necessary for essential reactions to occur.  This vitamin is not only required for normal enzymatic activity, but also plays a role in fundamental molecular messaging, normal brain function and balanced mood (Selhub, 2002).  Furthermore, recent research shows that potatoes contain kukoamines which are compounds that help to lower blood pressure (Storey, 2009).  In general, this tuber is frequently associated with high fat diets, perhaps because it is commonly smothered in cheese, sour cream, bacon or thrown in a bucket of high fat oil.  However, this misleading view should be transformed since potatoes are full of nutrients and provide helpful, necessary support to the daily functions of the body.  In fact, the potato is an excellent addition to any balanced diet since it is conspicuously low in fat and cholesterol, while high in complex carbohydrates and fiber (USDA, 2012).  As well, the high concentration of vitamin C is eminent for a healthy immune system and even helped to prevent scurvy amongst Spanish explorers who often spent months at sea (Carpenter, 1988).  Just remember to leave the skin on while cooking, as this will ensure fewer nutrients are denatured from the heat and increase your dietary fiber intake.

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