The best thing about February is getting inventive with harvest from the garden and using other ingredients in the freezer and the cupboards to make something delicious. In these winter months soups are a great medley of loveliness harvested this month and those from the summer.
My Scotch Bonnet peppers and spring onions did well in the summer so I’ve frozen a couple of bag fulls. They never go to waste as they together with thyme and garlic form the basis of much of the cooking I do and Jamaican style cooking.
This heart-warming soup is sweet, creamy and exquisite with the hint of ginger and aroma of coconut. The pepper gives it a kick. If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional leek and potato soup this may just be for you. Enjoy!
Leek, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup
- 1 large Sweet Pototo
- 3 cups Water
- 8 scallion/spring onions (if you’re using Jamaican variety of scallions you can use 1/2 of amount as these have a stronger flavour)
- 2 large cloves of Garlic
- 1/2 Scotch Bonnet pepper (can use less if you prefer it with less heat)
- 1 large Carrot
- 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
- 1 hand Thyme (4-5 springs)
- 1 tsp Blackpepper
- 4 grounded Pimento/Allspice seeds
- 3 large Leeks
- 1/2 of large sweet potato
- 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
- 1 tsp Celtic Sea/Himalayan rock salt (if needed)
- Inch of Ginger root
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil (raw virgin coconut oil)
Finely chop onions, garlic and pepper. Gently heat coconut oil in a deep pan. Add onions and pepper and saute for a few minutes, add garlic and stir until tender for a further minute. Dissolve stock cube in water then add to the seasoning. Chop the sweet potato, carrot and leeks and add to them to the pot together with the thyme, black pepper and pimento. Add more water if required, enough to cover the vegetables fully. Let them simmer for 10 mins. Add the ginger. Cook for 1/2 hour until the sweet potato is tender.
Once cooked remove the thyme stalks and pour the remaining ingredients and stock into a high-speed blender or use an immersion blender to blender all ingredients together until smooth. Return to the heat on a low setting and add coconut milk. Stir in until fully dissolved. Serve.
Leeks have a long growing season and need to be started early in the year. Sow the seeds undercover/indoors in Feb – Mar. They are best sown in modules and planted out when they are the thickness of a pencil. For large leeks you’ll need to give them plenty of space between each plant, at least 10 inches apart. Typically they will be ready for harvest in the autumn.
If like me you don’t have the space for large leeks you can grow smaller ones which have the benefit of not needing as much space and not as long a season to grow. They are also sweeter and more tender which is perfect for stir fries.
Leeks will make it through the winter months which makes it a great crop for a steady harvest during a time when not much else fresh is around. If it gets really cold it’s good to throw some fleece over them to keep the worst of the weather off.
Pic: Musselburgh growing in a patch I cleared in the lawn. Other nice varieties are Pandora which has beautiful grey green foliage. If you want to go for something huge then try the aptly named Elefant.