Creamy almond, leek and oats soup

I have developed a keen liking for soups, be it clear broths, hearty meaty ones, Asian bowls, creamy, thick, thin, you name it, I like it. Especially, a hearty bowlful, on a cold and wet evening, nowadays, with the incessant rain coming down every now and then. It spells comfort, together with the feeling of satisfaction and a kinda full in the tummy feeling. I also breathe a big sigh of relief, if it is soup day. It is more or less a one-pot meal, once you are done with the chopping, everything’s dumped in the pot. That’s the beauty of my soups, no exact measurements, it all tastes good once you are ready to savour a bowlful 🙂

I rarely add creams in my soup, it’s either good ol milk, or in this case almonds and oats. We all do not like oats in it’s pure form, period. It always has to be disguised in a way that it pleases every palate, without ever knowing oats went into the dish! I have done the same here and it actually imparts a nutty and toasty flavour to the soup, which I find quite endearing. It also thickens the soup I feel. Almonds are one of my favorite ingredients, especially in soups I make in my kitchen. They marry very well with any combination of vegetables, greens and meats. I always, yes, always soak raw almonds overnight. Not only are they easier to peel then, but more importantly, the enzymes and nutrients present, get activated in the nut. Plus, soaking the nuts also aids in good digestion. Almonds and oats together, I needn’t spell out the goodness and nutritional value of these healthy components.

For a little extra flavor, I have added a bit of chicken buillon powder. I use it as a substitute for chicken stock in my soups, sometimes. If you are a vegetarian, simple add your favorite vegetable stock or just water. I feel water is the best, since with all the vegetables cooking together, a flavourful stock is what one will eventually end up with.

And thank you, my handy-dandy hand blender 🙂 Always, my best friend in the kitchen, when it comes to making soups. We surely go ‘hand-in-hand’!:-)

Ingredients:

Raw almonds – 1 cup. Soak for about 8 hours or overnight. Peel skins.

A couple of stalks of celery, chopped

1 white carrot, chopped

1 leek, the white and light green part, chopped

1 potato, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

A sprig of fresh thyme

1 cup milk

1 chicken buillon cube.

4 cups water

Oats – 1/2 cup

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Olive oil

In a small food processor, add the almonds and milk and blend together to a smooth paste.

Heat a cup of water, bring to a boil and add add the chicken buillon cube. Stir to dissolve, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, add a dash of olive oil and sauté the leeks, celery, carrots and potato over medium heat, till leeks start sweating, say 5-7 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the oats and sauté for a few minutes, till oats give out a nice toasty aroma.

Add the almond puree. Add the chicken stock and remaining cups of water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 mins till veggies are tender. Remove sprig of thyme. When cool, blend with a hand blender to a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

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