It's cold and dark. Everyone has been out and about all day and into the early evening. The wind is blowing and the rain is hammering on the roof. You're tired and your legs are aching. One of the kids has a head cold. But there's a pot of comforting soup blooping away on the stove, so you know everything is going to be alright.
Chickpea and Leek Soup
from Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef
1 medium potato, peeled
5 medium leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
850ml chicken or vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese, grated
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthways from the root up, wash carefully and slice finely.
Warm a thick bottomed pan, and add the tablespoon of oil and the knob of butter. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan and sweat gently with a good pinch of salt until tender and sweet. Add the drained chickpeas and potato and cook for 1 minute. Add about two-thirds of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Now decide if you want to puree the soup in some sort of processor, or leave it chunky and brothy, or do what I do which is puree half and leave the other half whole - this gives a lovely smooth comforting feel but also keeps a bit of texture. Now add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check for seasoning, and add Parmesan to taste to round off the flavours.
Serve it for lunch with a good drizzle of your best peppery extra virgin olive oil, a grinding of black pepper and an extra springling of Parmesan and some Cheesy Muffins along side.