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Roasted Garlic Leek and Broccoli Soup

Hello Friends and Happy New Year! I thought a fitting recipe to start off the year would be a delicious soup, so every week this month, I will be sharing a delicious soup recipe.

Best of all, most will have the option to be totally vegetarian. Being Portuguese, I eat soup everyday. It is a fact. There isn't a Portuguese household who doesn't eat soup, if not daily, at least several times a week, year round. I have many soup recipes, but this month I will share my favourites. Most soup vegetables are now in season like, leeks, carrots, onions and turnips. All of my favorite soups are made with these vegetables. This delicious soup is elevated by using roasted garlic. Something magical happens when you roast garlic, the sharpness disappears and in return you get mellow, delicious umami filled nuggets. Don't discard the olive oil from roasting, later it is mixed with a little lemon juice, thyme and a few crushed , roasted garlic cloves, and used to drizzle atop each soup, filled bowl. This soup can be made vegetarian by swapping the chicken stock, for vegetable stock or water. I make this super indulgent by frying up a slice of prosciutto and crumbling it in each bowl before serving. Again, this is optional. For vegetarian toppings, think croutons, grated Parmesan and lemon zest. The simplicity of the ingredients, and the fact it is made with only four, really emphasises how good, fresh ingredients, at the start, turn into magical endings.

Enjoy XOXO

Roasted Garlic Leek and Broccoli Soup

Serves 4-6

For the roasted garlic:

1 Large garlic bulb, about 8-10 cloves

30 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 200°c.

Cut a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap and cover garlic bulb.

Line a small ramekin, or other oven safe dish with the foil.

Cut top of garlic head to expose a little bit of flesh from cloves, as pictured. Place in foil lined dish and drizzle with the olive oil.

Wrap the garlic with the foil loosely, but so it's completely covered.

Place in oven and roast for approximately 35-40 minutes.

Once done, let cool. Reserve olive oil.

Using a spoon, scoop out the gorgeous cloves.

Reserve two cloves for the soup garnish and set aside remaining cloves to add the soup.

For the soup:

250 g. Broccoli, regular or Tender stem, florets only

3 Potatoes, medium peeled and cut into small chunks.

2 Leeks, large, washed and sliced

800-900 ml. Chicken, vegetable stock or water

60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

1 Thyme, leaves only from fresh sprig

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a pot, on medium heat, add the roasted garlic cloves, olive oil, thyme and a handful of leeks. Sauté briefly. About 30 seconds, while stirring.

Add remaining leeks, potatoes and only 2 broccoli florets to the pot. Cover with stock, using only as little or as much needed to just cover vegetables.

Better the purée be too thick, than too thin. You can always add more stock during or after you purée.

Bring soup to the boil, then reduce heat to low.

Simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.

Bring a separate pot of salted water to the boil, add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in colander under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside and reserve.

Purée soup until smooth and velvety, using a stick blender. A regular blender can also be used.

Add reserved broccoli.

For the Garnish:

Reserved garlic infused olive oil from

roasting, plus an extra 60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

2 reserved roasted garlic cloves

1 tbsp. Lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 Thyme sprigs, fresh leaves only

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork and crush the garlic into the oil as much as possible. Drizzle a bit onto each bowl of soup just before serving.

For the prosciutto crumble:

Note: If using this garnish, go very light when adding salt to the soup. Prosciutto is particularly salty.

4 Prosciutto, presunto or Serrano ham slices

90 ml. Extra virgin olive oil for frying

In a large frying pan, add oil on high heat.

Once hot, place prosciutto side by side in a single layer and fry in hot oil for a few minutes turning once, until it is crisp and edges are slightly browned.

Drain on paper towel lined plate. Reserve.

It should be crisp and stiff, like photo below.

Crush all four slices into a bowl and use to garnish soup just before serving.

Prosciutto should be crisp and stiff so it can be crumbled

The olive oil left over from roasting the garlic is like liquid gold! Do not discard it. I use it to garnish the soup just before serving.

Cut ingredients into like size pieces to ensure even cooking. In this case the potatoes take longest, but the leeks won't suffer from being over done. I cook the broccolli in a seperate pan, so that it is just right. No mushy broccoli please :)

Visual tip: A medium potato

Saute a little bit of the leaks with the roasted garlic and olive oil, before adding the remaining ingredients to the pot.

I add just two broccoli to the soup, and purée it along with the potatoes and leeks.

A stick blender is the easiest way to purée the soup.

Simply topped with croutons, lemon zest or Parmesan cheese.

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