Vegan Potato and Leek Soup

I love a good soup and potato soup is a particular favorite. Sadly, most are not vegan and can be very rich. I created this recipe and after a few dry runs have perfected it into a wonderful hearty, but still very healthy winter soup.

The key to really concentrating the flavor is the finishing off in the oven. I find my Le Creuset is perfect for this. In this updated version, I have added some carrots, celery, mushrooms and shallots. It really gives it a richer flavor. I find that the shiitake mushrooms really boost the umami. Enjoy!

Ingredients 

2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1/2 cubes. You may peel if you prefer, but the result is richer when you don\’t. 
1 cup Carrots, chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
4 Tbsp non dairy Spread, like Earth Balance
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Shallot, sliced
2-3 Leeks, halved, cleaned and sliced into 1/4 inch slices. Use both green and white bits. 
1 cup of Shiitake  Mushrooms, sliced and cut into 2inch pieces 
4 cups Vegetable Broth, low sodium
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
1/8 tsp Marjoram 
1 Bay Leaf
1-2 tsp Sea Salt, depends on the saltiness of the broth.  
Freshly ground Black Pepper 

Prep your potatoes and put into a bowl of cold water. 


Prep your leeks and add your butter to a heavy pan, which is lidded and can be placed in the oven, and bring up to a simmer. Add the garlic and sauté just until just slightly golden. 


Then add the leeks and gently sauté. Give them about 10 minutes, but don\’t brown. Leeks can go bitter if they brown. Add the shiitake mushrooms and sauté for 5 mintues.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add all your remaining ingredients, except the potatoes and the broth. Sauté gently until it is aromatic, then add the potatoes and lightly sauté for 3-4 minutes. 


Add your broth and bring up to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Then put on a tight fitting lid and put into the preheated oven for an additional 30 minutes. 


Remove from the oven and take out the thyme stems and bay leaf and use a hand held immersion blender to blend and soup and thicken it. Serve with warm crusty bread or home made croutons. 


Note: If you do not have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup in a few batches to a food processor. Barring that, you can also use a potato masher, but the soup will be a thinner consistency. 

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