Whenever I feel overwhelmed with thoughts, and the weather, so menacing and stormy, doesn’t give chances for an outdoor escape, I make soup. So many clashing feelings have crossed my mind lately. At work, I can’t seem to help over-analyzing every single word, event, behavior. I feel exhausted, mentally and physically drained, tired of everything and everyone, to the point of being extremely edgy with whoever addresses me the wrong way. At home, I try to spend the little time I have left doing what I love, surrounding myself with beauty: beautiful images, beautiful ideas, beautiful food. I try to create quality time with whom I love and know can understand what I feel because we feel the same.
With a head full of thoughts and ideas, dreams and hopes, I find a refuge in my kitchen. And it is by making soup, this time, that I found a corner of inner calm and solace. Chopping vegetable, listening to the rhythm of the knife on the board and ignoring those in my head, glancing at the pot sizzling with olive oil, stirring the hot liquid, watching colors, distinct elements, all blending into a pastel green cream –I force myself to see beyond, to focus on what is happening in front of me with the senses wide awake, and to leave those thoughts in the back of my mind.
Making a warming meal for us when it is so cold and windy outside is indeed a cure –It heals and calms our spirits. This time, it was leek soup. It appears on our table quite rarely, once a year is the average, and oh, every time we forget how much we love it, and how good it makes us feel.
I wanted this one to be bright green, with cilantro enhancing its beautiful, natural hue, and delicate green peas to give some texture. Green is hope, we say in Italy. Indeed, there is much to hope for.
Leek Cilantro Soup
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add leeks and potato and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, lower the heat and cover. Bring to a boil, add bullion and let cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a small pot of water to a boil, add fresh peas and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain and let sit in ice-cold water until ready to use.
Transfer vegetables and the liquid to a blender and process until you have a smooth soup. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Add 3/4 of the cilantro and process with the rest of the soup until combined. Add the peas but don’t blend.
Serve hot with a drizzle of oil and the rest of the cilantro.