I spent Labor Day weekend on Lake Michigan – eating s’mores by the beach bonfire, drinking the first of the season’s Octoberfest and generally lounging around. At night the temperatures dipped into the 50’s and I snuggled into my hoodie. A very welcome taste of Fall for this Floridian. And it got me thinking about soup, even after I returned to the stifling Miami humidity.
So, with Fall on the brain , but summer in the pantry, I made this Zucchini, White Bean and Leek Soup. Instead of using potatoes and cream as a base, I simply sauteed some leeks and simmered those with zucchini and lots of garlic in some chicken stock. I added cannelini beans for creaminess and blended it into a nice, soothing puree. Topped with croutons, a dusting of Parmesan cheese and some basil oil – it was a pretty perfect lunch. A little summer, a little fall and just right.
Zucchini, White Bean & Leek Soup
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 large leeks, thoroughly rinsed and thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
3 zucchini, diced
7 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 15 oz. cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. basil leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp. good-quality olive oil
12 – 15 large croutons
Parmesan cheese for grating
Stir the basil and 3 tbsp. olive oil together and set aside.
Set a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks and saute for about 7 minutes, or until soft and beginning to brown. Add the zucchini, garlic and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 – 8 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender, but not mushy.
Add the beans, then transfer the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree. Return the soup to the pot and add the vinegar and smoked paprika. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and top with croutons, a drizzle of basil oil and a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings. Enjoy with a big salad or half sandwich.