There’s nothing like soup on these chilly autumn days to warm you up and it only takes a little bit of effort to go from a basic soup to amazingly delicious, this is the best soup ever, soup.
This summer I went on an amazing and inspiring vegan permaculture course. I met some really amazing people and got introduced to some great, practical and positive ideas to create a regenerative, cruelty-free landscape and abundant future. (If you’re intrigued to know more next years course is now open for bookings.) One of the other amazing things about the course was the food, especially the soups. I had previously thought I made pretty tasty soups but these put mine to shame. So I decided it was time I upped my soup game!
Recently I’ve been getting tonnes of leeks in my veg bag and having helped myself to a field of left over potatoes that were “too small” for the farmer to harvest, leek and potato soup was just calling out to be made.
But how to up my soup game? Creamy cashew goodness complemented by crispy polenta croutons of course!
Creamy Leek & Potato Soup with Polenta & Walnut Croutons
For the cashew cream
75g cashews, soaked for 4 hours, preferably overnight
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the polenta croutons
60g dried polenta
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
For the soup
2 cloves garlic
2-3 potatoes (approx 250g)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tbsp bouillon stock
1 litre water
1tbsp olive oil
- Start by cooking the polenta in the water, according to the packet instructions. When the polenta is almost ready, stir in the walnuts and dill. Pour the thickened mixture onto a parchment lined baking tray and spread to about 1/2cm thick and set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop all the veg for the soup. Add the onions to a large saucepan with a little oil and cook on a medium heat until they start to soften.
- Then add the garlic, leek, carrot and potato and half cover the pan with a lid for about 5-10 minutes before adding the cumin and garlic.
- Stir for a few minutes then boil the water and add to the pan along with the stock. Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
- Whilst the soup is cooking, prepare the cashew cream. Drain the cashews from the water the have been soaking in and rinse. Blend with 100ml of water and the lemon juice until completely smooth, this may take a few minutes. Set aside or make in advance and put in the fridge until your ready to use it.
- Return to the cooled polenta and chop into crouton sized chunks. Cook under the grill on a high heat for around 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the croutons are evenly crisp on all sides.
- When the soup is ready add in half the cashew cream. Then blend the soup until smooth, either in the pan using a stick blender or pouring it into a food processor.
- Serve in warm bowls, spooning over more cashew cream into each bowl and topping with the croutons.
The subtle hint of cumin and dill really bring the flavour of this simple soup to life and the easy to make, cashew cream makes it rich and delicious. Add to this a bit of exciting crunch from the walnut and polenta croutons and you’ll never think soup as dull and boring again!