This soup is a great marriage of flavors and it won't weigh you down. I'll expect heaven to smell like thyme in butter.
2 T butter
2 c chopped leeks, white and light green parts
1 1/2 t green garlic (see notes)
1 1/2 t basil
1 t thyme
4 c chopped broccoli
1 c broccoli florets (reserved)
1 c diced peeled red potatoes
3 c chicken stock
2 c lowfat milk
1-2 t salt, to taste
1 T cornstarch
Extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Saute the leeks, garlic, basil and thyme in butter for about five minutes. Add the chopped broccoli, potatoes, and stock, bring up to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Steam the broccoli florets in a steamer basket on top of the pot. Take off the heat, add the milk and salt, and blend. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little cold water, add to the soup, and bring it back up to a slow boil for one minute. The soup will thicken slightly. Add freshly ground black pepper and steamed broccoli florets. Garnish with shredded extra-sharp cheddar.
Leeks usually have a little dirt between the layers. Chop them and let them soak in some water while you chop the other ingredients. You can substitute onions, but the delicate flavor of the leek is wonderful. Try it!
I used green garlic because I had two bulbs that had sprouted for a couple of weeks. I wanted a little garlic flavor but I didn't want to overwhelm the leeks. So I chopped off the sprouts, chopped them up, and put them in the soup. They were perfect. Don't throw out that sprouted garlic. If you can't cook with it, plant the cloves!
I chop my basil in a food processor with a little olive oil each fall and freeze it in small ice cube trays, such as those sold for dorm refrigerators. Then I pop them out into a plastic bag and I have the taste of fresh basil all winter. All I have to do is toss a cube in the sauce or soup, or defrost in the microwave to mix into meatballs.
My favorite potatoes are Yukon Gold, but red was on sale.
You can steam more broccoli florets to put in the soup to make it heartier. If you want it thicker, use cream, substitute another cup of potatoes for a cup of broccoli, or use one cup less stock.
Leeks, broccoli, potatoes, garlic, and thyme - Deep Roots Market
Butter and milk - Homeland Creamery
Basil - my back yard, then my freezer
Chicken stock - my freezer, chicken originally from Back Woods Farm
Cornstarch - Harris Teeter
Extra-sharp cheddar cheese - the Molners
Cross-posted from The Mock Turtle's Song.