SAFFRON POTATO LEEK SOUP + FRIED GARLIC & ONIONS
- 2 pounds organic yukon gold potatoes
- 2 small leeks, sliced and any dirt removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup blanched almonds (almond with skin is ok too)
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups vegetable broth, + more as needed
- 1/2 cup basmati or jasmine rice
- 1 pinch saffron, partially crushed
- mineral salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red/white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
Cut potatoes into irregular chunks by inserting the tip of a small, sharp knife into a potato and twisting until a 1 1/2 chunk comes out. Repeat until the entire potato is cut up, than continue with the remaining potatoes, set aside. You can also just roughly chop the potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Peeling is optional.
Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, add almonds and garlic, cooking, stirring frequently until golden, 3 – 4 minutes. Transfer the almonds and garlic to a bowl to cool slightly. Add leeks and a 2 tablespoons of water to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes, vegetable broth and rice, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 40 to 45 minutes.
In a food processor, place the garlic and almonds, pulse until desired texture. I left mine fairly course. Add all but 2 tablespoons to the soup. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
>Remove a few tablespoons of soup from the pot and place in a small bowl, add saffron and let steep for 2 minutes, add to the soup. Add a little more water or broth if the soup seems to thick and continue to cook.
Once soup is ready, if you’d like it creamier, break up or mash some of the potatoes using a sturdy spoon. Add the vinegar to the reserved ground almond mixture and stir in the soup. Add the parsley and cook for a minute. Taste for seasonings, adding a little more salt and vinegar if necessary.
Serve with dense whole grain or artisan bread.
If using almonds with the skin, just know that the skins will fall off in the soup. For me this is not an issue (I like the added fiber) but if you’re serving for company you may consider using blanched almonds.