Dinner Tonight: Pumpkin and Leek Soup

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

The combination of potato and leek in a soup is a classic, something I've already covered on Dinner Tonight, and there's no refuting that it's a successful pairing. But that didn't mean I wasn't intrigued by this recipe in Raymond Sokolov's splendid book A Canon of Vegetables, a volume of recipes organized by vegetable, each accompanied by a literary—and often witty—bit of scholarship. While learning that kimchi cures sickness and that croquettes dauphine are "the high point of potato cookery," I came across this five-ingredient recipe (including salt and pepper) for a variation on the classic.

Sokolov calls Pumpkin and Leek Soup "less dour, brighter, yet thicker," all of which I found true. It's a little bit sweeter, too. The best part about soups like this is the easy preparation: Dump pumpkin chunks and sliced leeks into a quart of water, simmer, and blend. The result is rich, vegetal and tasty, but the final luxurious touch comes in the form of cream, sour cream, or yogurt to soften it. I stirred in a dollop of Greek yogurt, thinking its thickness would suit nicely, and it worked quite well. A drizzle of olive oil and thick bread, and dinner was served.

If you can't find pumpkin, any winter squash such as butternut will substitute well.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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Dinner Tonight: Pumpkin and Leek Soup

About This Recipe

Yield:4
This recipe appears in: Serious Grape: Austrian White Wines for Fall

Ingredients

  • 3 cups well-washed, sliced leek (about 2 leeks)
  • 1 pound raw pumpkin chunks, or substitute winter squash
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup yogurt, sour cream, or cream
  • Olive oil for drizzling (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a large saucepan, cover the pumpkin and leeks with a quart (4 cups) of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the pumpkin is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

  2. 2

    Transfer soup to a food processor or blender, or pass through a food mill. Return to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. 3

    Remove from heat and stir in yogurt, sour cream, or cream. Or, serve in bowls with a dollop in the middle of each soup bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

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