We got a new vegetable in our CSA last week: leeks. Having never encountered leeks before, I was under the misconception that they were some sort of root vegetable. Actually, leeks look and taste like a overgrown green onions. In search of an easy supper, I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com for a spinach and leek bean soup. The original recipe calls for couscous; I was in a pasta frame of mind and substituted orzo. I also halved the amount of beans and used butter in place of olive oil. I thought the finished soup was delicious: fresh-tasting yet hearty, a good way to use up leeks and get a serving of spinach. Mike's verdict? "It would taste much better if you added chicken." You win some vegetarian battles, you lose some (although since I used chicken broth, my soup wasn't even vegetarian).
Adapted from the Allrecipes.com recipe by Beth4kids
Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as a main dish
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 small leeks (about 1 inch in diameter), sliced lengthwise and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup dry orzo
- 5 ounce package fresh spinach (about 2 cups)
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute until leeks are tender and garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, cannellini beans, bay leaves, and cumin and bring to a boil. Stir in the orzo, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until orzo is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add spinach* and stir until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*If you aren't planning eating all of the soup in one sitting, add the spinach to each serving rather than stirring it into the whole batch. This saves you from slimy and unappetizing spinach in the leftover portion.