Eating Paleo or Not: ‘Potato’ Leek Soup For Beginners and Sherry Lovers
Those with food restrictions causing them to eat a paleo or gout friendly diet that is. (The two of which aren’t like two peas in a pod.) Currently the largest divide in my life resides in the kitchen wherein I’ve been trying to warp my schedule constraints to fit double prep and avoiding double prep where I can. Being avid bone broth consumers in our household, you can bet we’ve undergone some discombobulation with the recent addition of Trev’s gout diagnosis. If you’er wondering why, I’ll get to that soon.
What does a family (me specifically) do when most of they eat revolves around organic and or/local free-range hormone free meat and fresh veggies and fruits? Minimal grains and carbs — when one of those family members is suddenly told to steer clear of meat (and booze and other things) and to fill the void with lots of grains and good carbs? (To be clear, I’m not strict about it. I truly believe that food is to be experienced, savoured and shared with loved ones. There are so many cuisines that I couldn’t have, share or introduce my kids to if I never, ever consumed grains, dairy or carbs again. Lets just say I am more than moderate about my intake.)
At first my brain could not compute. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to keep things flowing to the table at the mostly-from-scratch, tasty, meaty-for-most-part rate of that which I had been accustomed. Dinners. Lunches. And sometimes breakfast. McMeat loving family, right here. In being told that bone broth (for example) was just as bad for Trev to consume as organ meats systematically tore down everything I believed about the healing goodness of bone broth. I mean, I put that shit in everything. So, as you might have surmised by now, I’m getting somewhere with this potato leek soup recipe by the mention of broth.
But I had to start somewhere. I couldn’t very well just begin by sharing a recipe that consisted of the use of TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF BROTH, (for starters) hence two different bubbling pots each with their own diet appropriate ingredients. You see, being pre-diabetic I have found that eating Paleo has kept me feeling prime (blood sugars in check), and when I cheat now the results are disastrous. I feel like all sorts of ass. It’s all very quite obvious to me; that food really is medicine so I have chosen to obnoxiously (to some) #eatlikeIgiveafuck. <—– Profane? Yes. Appropriate? Absolutely. Not my hastag idea either. If you’ve heard of Thug Kitchen, he started it. Not me. I just hopped on the bandwagon.
For those who don’t know much about gout (and who does unless you have a family member or you yourself are suffering from it? I sure as heck didn’t), you may have guessed by now that meat is bad news. You can click the embedded link and take your learning as far as the wide world of internet rabbit holes will take you or you can be subjected to the nitty gritty here. I plan on laying that all out in another post along with some of the research I’ve done in regards to healing foods, foods to avoid, gout super-foods, etc. For now, let me break-it-on-down for you as simple as I can. Gout is one of the most painful types of arthritis for which there is no cure. Western trained doctors and naturopaths alike both agree that it is best managed by diet. Of course there are anti-inflammatory prescriptions and other meds that one can take when flare-ups get really bad, but flare-ups can be avoided by completely over-hauling one’s diet. Clearly I’m no doctor, so please if you have the symptoms of gout or currently suffer from it, talk to your own health-care provider(s).
What causes the flare-ups? High levels of uric acid which are inflamed by purine rich foods, or excessive exercise and/or and too much fructose and/or booze intake and/or being overweight. Could be a combo of all of these or just a couple. (In Trev’s case it was definitely a purine-rich diet and excessive exercise since he was biking everyday to and from the train station for work. He’s not much of a drinker and we don’t eat a lot of fructose laden foods or drinks.) So, there you have it, meats (and some veg, legumes and meat / dairy products) have purine in them, meat being the highest and organ levels being at the top of that purine rich richter scale along with shellfish. Bone broth, gravies and rich sauces made from such animal-based broths are considered just as bad as organ meats because they are made from the slow simmer of all the parts of an animal. The initial discovery of this were some very sad times indeed.
Yet only for a little while was I sad, because well – in the end it wasn’t me who had to give up bone broth and meat and alcohol (which is inflammatory and being pre-diabetic I shouldn’t be drinking all that much anyways). What I did have to do was wrap my brain around creating a whole new type of cuisine (vegetarian) and enter into making a big batch of vegetable stock when I make bone broth every six weeks or so. (Because I choose to be the healer and nurturer via food in our family.) Now, when I do make a soup, I make two batches, one with bone broth and one with veggie stock base. Enough to last for one night of leftovers, one day of packed lunches and a round to put in the freezer. Some might think this is crazy and that I have all the time in the world.
I assure you, I DO NOT. I simply(ISH) have made it a priority to care for my family the best ways I know how. I make the time to respect our bodies as the delicate machines they are. This gives me the deepest sense of joy, accomplishment and happiness in living our lives together everyday. Also, until you see your loved one rendered immobile in excruciating pain time and again and you finally discover that there is a way to diminish (and maybe even eradicate) that pain, well – you do something. And by something in my world you begin with homemade soup poured into heavy earthenware bowls, placed on a big wooden table with a family ready to sip, savour and enjoy together. The dining room table is definitely the heart of our home; with hours spent crafting, noodling (take that how you will), reading, writing, lego building, eating, celebrating, arguing, laughing, making music … the hub for many of our daily activities, ups and downs.
It’s in the coming together over healing, delicious foods that our hearts and brains are renewed too, even with picky children in the mix. If they don’t comply to the meal being presented to them, we just toss them under the table with a bag of m&m’s. I kid. They actually like this soup. (Because cheese. It’s all about the toppings. Shredded asiago cheese, bacon bits fro those who can have it and drizzles of chili oil. Picky food restrictions really have an easy resting place here with this dish.)
Any-which-way You Want It…
- 3 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil
- 4 washed leeks, white AND green parts, roughly chopped (crazy me, don't mind the green...Julia is rolling in her grave)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (no need to mince since you'll be blending to finish)
- ¾ cup of cooking sherry
- 2 lbs yukon or russet potatoes, (cauliflower for paleo) scrubbed/washed well and roughly chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 8 cups bone broth or chicken stock or veggie stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup plain cashew cream (to replace heavy dairy cream)
- 2 tablespoons Braggs (with the mother!) apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup of nutritional yeast (great source of protein)
- Chives, finely chopped (optional)
- Bacon, chopped in small cubes (optional)
- Grated asiago cheese (optional)
- Chili Oil (optional for drizzling)
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large dutch oven. (Just my preference for making soups.) Add the leeks and garlic and to simmer, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. No browning allowed, but sherry splashing to deglaze encouraged.
- Add the potatoes (or separately steamed and drained cauliflower), stock/broth of choice, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a slow boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft and break apart when smooshed with a fork. If using cauliflower ou can immediately blend after adding it COOKED into the broth mixture.
- Fish out bay leaves, then add the nutritional yeast and purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches but that's a pain in the ass.) Add the cashew cream and apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish whichever way you like! This makes a great weeknight meal with grilled sandwiches done on the panini press. The kids and Trev like apple, sage and grilled cheese action and until I can perfect a paleo bread recipe, I sadly, do not eat sandwiches. A big, hearty salad pairs well too.
What makes this recipe so toddler/kid friendly? There are no unrecognizable chunks of food floating around, they are allowed (in our house) to pick up the bowls to sip, and the addition of grllied cheese sammies to dip in the soup always goes over well. It’s warm, soothing and delicious…three things that are hard for even the pickiest of suspect children to ignore (even if it is green.) All of that with the addition of a wide selection of toppings they can add to their soup on their own? Suddenly dinner is like a game! A really fun game…except flinging and sliding is not permitted. Game over then, GAME OVER.