Better than Mmm Mmm, Good

I love soup. There isn’t anything more comforting or fulfilling than a hot cup of soup on a bitter cold day. It reminds me of home, although during those days I’d be perfectly happy opening up a can of Campbell’s or Progresso and doing the cooking in the microwave. Having an arsenal of soup recipes is, for lack of a better term, a good thing. Unlike Martha, (why is she so greedy that an entire phrase is now hers?) I believe that soup doesn’t have to be complicated to be enjoyed and appreciated. Using simple, quality, organic or natural ingredients and inspired by a recipe for carrot-rice soup that a friend, MJ, shared with me back in the fall I created this low-fat, low-calorie, full-of-flavor Carrot and Leek soup. I hope if you make it you enjoy it as much as M and I have!

Carrot and Leek Soup

Ingredients:
Pacific organic free range chicken broth- 3 cartons (3 quarts total)
Lundberg Jubilee rice, 1 C dry (2 C cooked) or another brown rice/brown and wild rice blend
Earthbound Farm organic carrots- 2 lbs
organic leeks- 2 medium sized, white and light green parts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 t ground white pepper
1.5 t dried marjoram
2 t olive oil (cold-pressed, 100% from Italian olives)
non-fat sour cream or yogurt, for optional garnish

Put 1 C of rice into a rice cooker and add 2 C chicken broth. Lock and let cook. Set remaining broth aside (2 Cups).

Thinly slice the leeks, discarding the dark green parts or reserving them for another recipe. Place the leeks into a large bowl or cold water and agitate so that the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Set aside.

Peel carrots, slice into rounds about 1/4″ thick. Pour 2 T olive oil into a large stock pot (6 quarts is sufficient) over high heat. Add the carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

While the carrots are cooking, finely mince 4 cloves of garlic.

Remove the leeks from the bowl of water using a large slotted spoon. Pat dry using a kitchen towel. Add the leeks and the garlic to the pot of carrots, turn down heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes until leeks are soft and begin to wilt.

Sprinkle over 1.5 t ground white pepper and 1.5 t dried marjoram and stir.

Open remaining 2 broth cartons. Pour 2 quarts into the pot with the carrots, leeks, and seasonings. Cover and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.

When rice is finished, leave on “warm” setting in the rice cooker until ready to use.

Using a slotted spoon or large ladle, remove about 1.5-2 C of the carrots and leeks (if you get some broth too that’s ok) and pour into a blender. Puree, adding the leftover 2 C broth set aside from the carton used to cook the rice. The mixture will be finished when it is smooth. Return the puree to the stockpot and stir to combine.

Add in the 2 C of cooked rice to the pot. Stir until well-incorporated with the other ingredients.

Top with some non-fat (plain!) yogurt or sour cream as a garnish, if desire.

Devour and enjoy.

Makes 4 quarts of soup.

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