It’s minus 6 degree Celsius on Tuesday afternoon, January 6, 2016 here at our Homestead. I have decided to take advantage of a beautiful sunny but cold afternoon to monitor our cold season vegetable polytunnels and harvest some of our winter crops that have been thriving in our polytunnel raised beds.
Beets and carrots are on the menu. Beets become soft because of loss of moisture and if temperatures below freezing continues, this will harm them so I will schedule to harvest the balance and store them in our root cellar where the temperature is above freezing with about 90 – 95% humidity. The best way to preserve beets is to steam them to maintain nutrients and colour and high sources of antioxidants. Carrots will withstand colder temperatures and are sweeter tasting in the winter after the starch converts to sugar. Carrots are high in beta-carotene which our bodies use to establish Vitamin A for good health.
A craving for leek and potato soup is a favourite on colder days and makes for a delicious soup contender. Although there are several recipes for this soup, here is one of our favourite’s that we would like to share with you and that you may want to try.
Leek and Potato Soup
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 (white & light green parts only) leeks
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 carrot , diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & chopped
- 3 cups sodium-reduced chicken stock
- 2 thick slices bacon
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute leeks, celery, carrot, salt, thyme and pepper until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add potatoes, stock and 3 cups (750 mL) water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in skillet, fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels then crumble.
In batches in blender, puree soup until smooth; strain into clean pot and reheat gently. Sprinkle each serving with bacon, cheese and parsley.