My daughter came down with the flu ten days ago so I spent five entire days and nights tending to a feverish little puppy, trying to ease her discomfort as best as I could. Besides two visits to her pediatrician, we didn’t move out of the house, watched cartoons when the fever subsided and I spent most of those nights at her bedside with a wet, cold cloth on her forehead. My husband was abroad so I had to handle these sleepless, stressful nights by myself. Just when my baby was starting to get better, I found myself completely exhausted and, you guessed it, came down with the flu, too. So five more tough days followed, this time around even more difficult because, well, have you ever seen a mother purging her flu tucked up in bed getting sleep and rest all day with water, medication and hot soup delivered to her bedside? I didn’t think you’d have…
Under these circumstances there hasn’t been a lot of cooking in my kitchen for over a week, and the cooking that was done had to be very simple, fast, kid-friendly and obviously had to include a soup which is so comforting when you don’t really have an appetite but still want to get some food and fluid in your system. This dish fits all of these requirements. The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 1999 book The Naked Chef that was published as a follow-up to his first hit TV series by the same title. I slightly adjusted the ratios. You couldn’t ask for a simpler recipe: if you’re a beginner cook, if you’re a busy working mom (or dad, right?) looking for a quick weekday dinner idea, if you’re a soup lover like me or if you’re looking for a meatless winter recipe, this one is for you!! Garlic, leek, potatoes and chickpeas with a vegetable or chicken stock, some seasoning and grated parmesan, and your soup’s done! The potatoes and chickpeas provide a creamy consistence, the leeks sweeten the dish without overriding the flavors of the garlic, and the grated parmesan gives a salty finishing touch to your soup. I guarantee you’ll be hooked like I am because one thing is for sure: I’ll be cooking this soup even when the flu season is over!
What you’ll need to serve 4:
- 2 medium leeks, cleaned and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, cleaned and chopped
- a good glug of olive oil
- a knob of butter
- 3 medium potatoes
- 200g of cooked chickpeas
- 1 organic vegetable or chicken stock cube
- filtered water, about 1.5l
- Himalaya salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated parmesan
What you’ll need to do:
- Trim the ends off the leeks, rinse them under water to remove visible dirt or sand. Chop them into 1cm slices. Clean and chop the garlic.
- Place a large pan on medium-high heat and add a good glug of olive oil and a knob of butter. Add the chopped leeks and garlic, season with salt, cover and let it soften, about 7-8 minutes.
- In the meantime peel your potatoes and dice them evenly. Add the potatoes along with the chickpeas to the pan once the leek is soft and sweet. (As for the chickpeas: obviously easiest is to use canned ones, but I try to avoid everything that comes in a can. I usually buy dry chickpeas in bulk, let them soak overnight in water with a spoonful of baking soda then cook them next day until soft. I keep them in the freezer until needed. Whatever you are using, your chickpeas should be almost thoroughly cooked when you add them to your soup.)
- Give your ingredients a good turn and add the water and the vegetable stock cube. Bring to boil then lower the heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Using a hand held mixer blend the veggies, leaving a small portion unmixed. Season with salt and pepper, and add a good handful of freshly grated parmesan.
- Divide between serving bowls, drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and some more parmesan. Enjoy!