Today I continued working through the 400 Soups cookbook that I got on the bargain rack when I picked up Countess LuAnn of New York's Classy Book of Classy Etiquette. Given the success of the spicy cauliflower soup and the easy pea soup (which, as my friend Justin suggested, was even better with the addition of cream and bacon), I figured I could branch out and try something completely new, and settled on the creamy hearts of palm soup since it used a leek and two cans of hearts of palm.
I've never cooked with either of those, or to my knowledge, eaten them.
I do know, from "Top Chef", that a leek is kind of like a big onion. I didn't realize how big until I got to Earthfare (no leeks at Kroger, I'm afraid) and picked one out:
It's like a club! If I got mugged on the way home from the store I could totally fight someone off with my leek. You could play baseball with that thing.
Of course, now that I had a leek I had little idea of what to do with it. I knew it needed washing, because I remember someone on "Top Chef" being accused of having sandy leeks (I can't remember who, but I want to say it was Top Scallops Jamie), but I had no idea if I was supposed to used the white part or the green part or peel it or what. Fortunately, a quick google search informed me that I should cut off the bottom, then cut off the leaves where the light green part started to darken. Once that was done, I cut up an onion and then peeled and diced a potato, and my mis en place was done except for draining the hearts of palm.
I have no idea what part of the palm the heart comes from, but they look like this when you dump a pre-sliced can of them into a strainer:
Do palm trees have fruit? Is the heart from some sort of palm fruit? Or is it something more sinister, like the palm tree gets knocked out and wakes up in the thugee temple under the palace and then gets chained into a harness and then Mola Ram reaches into the palm tree's chest and pulls out the still beating heart of palm with his bare hand and throws it into a Kroger can while the cultists chant and pray to the Sankara stones?
Who cares? After all the slicing and dicing prep work I was too hungry to worry.
The soup came together in stages, but it was fairly simple. I started by melting butter in my soup pot (I've gotten really good at doing this slowly and patiently rather than turning the heat up really high and burning the butter to a brown smear on the bottom of the pain) along with some olive oil, and then cooking down the onion and leeks in it:
After that I added flour, chicken stock, and the chunks of potato, and then ten minutes later heavy cream and the hearts of palm:
and then the whole thing eventually went into the blender. I was going to use my immersion blender, but that always seems to miss a chunk of something here and there, and I wanted this pureed all the way down since there was a whole onion in it. While it was baking I put a loaf of bread in the oven (a Kroger take and bake loaf, since we already know that my homemade bread is awful, nightmare fuel) and suddenly dinner was served:
I'm not sure what a heart of palm tastes like, exactly, but the soup has a creamy taste with a slightly sweet undertone, and I didn't taste the onion at all.