Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Brotchan foltchep a.k.a. Leek and Oatmeal Soup

I love leeks. Few vegetables are as versatile as the leek. Perfect in a soup, a tart, as roasted on their own or with a variety of other veg, the leek has a wonderfully mild onion flavor that permeates almost any application you choose. I had three beautiful leeks from my CSA this last week and decided I wanted to make soup. Normally, I would use leeks as a base for broccoli soup and potato soup, but I really wanted to highlight the leek, and not have it as just a background flavor.

I ran across this recipe in my Irish Food & Cooking cookbook, and I'm so glad I did. Don't be fooled by the fact that there's only 5 actual ingredients in this soup (other than seasoning). It packs some serious flavor punch. And talk about comforting...oh my goodness. This will become an annual fall/winter soup in our house. I served mine up with some homemade soda bread, topped with apricot jam...the good feelings this meal prompted lasted me well throughout the day. The recipe below is double what I made - next time, I will be sure to have six leeks on hand so I can make the full recipe.

Brotchan foltchep (Leek and Oatmeal Soup)
5 cups chicken stock and milk, mixed (2.5 cups stock, 2.5 cups milk)
2 tbs medium pinhead oatmeal (Irish oatmeal - you can find this in the grocery store - McCann's is a brand I know and love)
2 tbs butter
6 large leeks, sliced in 3/4-inch pieces
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Pinch of allspice

1. Bring the stock and milk mixture to a boil over medium heat and sprinkle in the oatmeal. Stir well to prevent lumps forming, and then simmer gently.

2. Wash the leeks in a bowl. Melt the butter in a separate pan and cook the leeks over a gentle heat until softened slightly, then add them to the stock mixture. Simmer for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the oatmeal is cooked. Extra stock or milk can be added if the soup is too thick.

3. Season with salt, pepper and allspice. Serve in warmed bowls.

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