A refreshing, healthy soup using fresh spring vegetables.
Step 1: Ingredients
- Cooking oil (olive oil recommended)
- 1 or 2 leeks, depending on size
- A few carrots
- Half a tomato or a few tablespoons of tomato puree
- A few potatoes and/or kohlrabi (see note)
- A cupful or two of shelled green peas (frozen or fresh)
- Dried red chile (optional)
- Bay leaf
- Stock for the soup (water is fine too)
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Oregano (optional, for serving)
Note: I use kohlrabi because I find that it adds a flavor—slightly buttery and sweet—that potato does not match. Since it is not the most common vegetable, feel free to use only potato, or a mixture of potato and kohlrabi, as I did in this recipe. You should get a good result in any case.
Step 2: Chop Vegetables
Chop the carrot and leek into bite-sized pieces. Do the same for the potato and/or kohlrabi, but keep the two separate, since they will enter the soup at different times.
Rather than dicing everything into teeny bits, I encourage you to make the pieces big enough (see picture) that you will still notice them when the soup is cooked. This extra dimension of texture gives the soup its character.
If using frozen peas, put them in a bowl with a bit of water, so they defrost. Finally, if using whole tomato, chop it now. These pieces can be smaller than the other vegetables. If using tomato puree, you can move to the next step.
Step 3: Cook the Base
Sauté the leeks and carrots in olive oil on medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 15 minutes or until noticeably softened. Towards the end, turn the heat up to high, so that the vegetables take on the hint of a char, which improves the soup's flavor.
Next, add the tomato puree (or chopped tomato) to the pot, along with the bay leaf and dried red chile, if using. After a few moments, add the chopped potato and/or kohlrabi. Stir to mix the ingredients well. It should look something like the second picture.
Step 4: Add Liquid
Add your soup liquid of choice, be it stock or plain water. There should be at least enough liquid to cover the vegetables. I don't add a lot of liquid, since I prefer a thicker, stew-like consistency, but by all means add more liquid if you prefer a thinner soup. Add salt and pepper now as well.
Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potato and/or kohlrabi are soft. This might take 20-25 minutes, but use your own judgement and check the vegetables periodically yourself.
Step 5: Finish and Serve
When the vegetables have softened, take the soup off the stove and add the shelled peas and oregano. Let sit in the residual heat for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mix.
Serve, topped with shredded oregano or other spring herbs if available. Enjoy!