One thing that stands out about my trip to Wales, way back in 2001 was spotting fresh leeks at a market. They were something my travelling mate, Sarah, had on her list of “Things From Wales” … right under Tom Jones.
On that same trip, my sister Erin, a temporary resident of the country, showed us a cookbook by the dreamy Naked Chef Jamie Oliver. Who? In 2001, he was someone we had never heard of. We were barely out of University and didn’t cook much.
Erin then gave me the book for my next birthday. I will admit now, I didn’t use it much at the beginning. Actually, I went on and purchased more of his books prior to cooking much at all. I think I liked the design of his books and knew there would be a time in my life i’d appreciate this F I N E collection.
One recipe I did try, perhaps because of my leek-love, was Jamie’s Chickpea and Leek Soup. I can’t count how many times I’ve made this. It’s easy. It’s a classic. And now, about 5 or 6 books later, I still think it’s my favourite.
Below is the recipe. Do it up. -x0-meg
340gr/12oz chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 medium potato, peeled
5 medium leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
850ml/1 1/2 pints chicken or vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese, grated
EV olive oil
Rinse the soaked chickpeas, cover with water, and cook with the potato until tender, about 1 hour. (you could add a rasher of smoked bacon and a bouquet garni and remove when the chickpeas are cooked).
Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthways from the root up, wash carefully and slice finely.
Warm a thick bottomed pan, and add the tablespoon of oil and the knob of butter. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan and sweat gently with a good pinch of salt until tender and sweet. Add the drained chickpeas and potato and cook for 1 minute. Add about two-thirds of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Now decide if you want to puree the soup in some sort of processor, or leave it chunky and brothy, or do what I do which is puree half and leave the other half whole – this gives a lovely smooth comforting feel but also keeps a bit of texture. Now add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check for seasoning, and add Parmesan to taste to round off the flavours.