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New World Leek and Pepper Soup


I call this soup “new world” because it’s a variation on the classic French leek and potato soup, using sweet potatoes and peppers, two ingredients that Christopher Columbus introduced to Europe during his explorations of the Americas. Serve small quantities as a prelude to a celebratory meal, or add a tossed green salad for a light supper.


Prepare the Soup


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about five minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add two cups (500 milliliters) of the stock and stir well. Transfer to stoneware of a medium to large (three- and- a- half- to five-quart) slow cooker.


Add remaining four cups (one liter) of stock and sweet potatoes. Cover and cook on Low for six hours or on High for three hours, until potatoes are tender. Add green peppers and chile pepper, if using. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. Season to taste with salt, if using.


Purée using an immersion blender. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, do this in a blender or food processor, in batches.) To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with roasted red pepper strips, if using, and chives.



· If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approximately two quart) slow cooker.

· To clean leeks: Fill a sink full of lukewarm water. Split the leeks in half lengthwise and submerge them in the water, swishing them around to remove all traces of dirt. Transfer to a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water.

· For the best flavor, toast cumin seeds and grind them yourself. To toast cumin seeds: Place in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about three minutes. Immediately transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind finely.

· This soup is tastiest when made with sweet potatoes, but if you prefer substitute an equal quantity of acorn squash.

· If you prefer, use one red and one green bell pepper.

· To make ahead, complete step one. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe.


Text and photo from The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. Text copyright © 2013 Judith Finlayson. Cover Image by Colin Erricson. Photographs by Colin Erricson. Published by Robert Rose, Inc. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.