Yesterday afternoon I decided to make some homemade gluten free pizza crust so that the boys could have pizza night, which is Nikhil’s favorite. While I was waiting for the dough to rise, I searched through the fridge to figure out what I was going to make for myself for dinner, because as much as I love pizza, the bread & cheese combo just doesn’t agree with me. My internal clock must sense that it’s officially fall now, as somehow I was craving soup again, even though it continues to be close to 90 degrees here! In the fridge I found a whole leek and a bunch of fresh dill leftover from the delicious Summertime Salmon Chowder that I made last week, as well as the remnants of a rotisserie chicken that I had picked up over the weekend. I also found a handful of crimini mushrooms in the fridge, which I thought would work well with the leeks and the dill. My findings were especially fortuitous because I love mushrooms and any type of onion, but Ben barely tolerates them (I think he’s mildly allergic to onions), so I wouldn’t normally make something like this for the family. I knew Ben would enjoy pizza night with the boys, so I got to work on my own dinner, and came up with this oh so yummy soup.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced (2 cups)*
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise then sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
5 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock**
1 1/2 tsp paprika
10 turns of the pepper mill
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, roughly chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 tsp sea salt, or less to taste
*A tip about cooking with leeks: I was taught to use the white and light green portion of the leek, and not the darker green, tougher part. Leeks grow in sandy soil, so you want to be sure to properly rinse your leeks in a colander after slicing them. You can also soak the sliced leeks in a large bowl of water to let the heavier soil sink to the bottom, and then rinse several times to ensure that all debris has been removed. You don’t want gritty soup!
**If you use reduced sodium stock, you may need to add more salt at the end to achieve the right flavor.
In a large soup pot with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, and mushrooms to the pot and saute your veggies until the leeks are tender, and have just started to brown a little bit, about 8 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken stock, paprika, black pepper, and dill, and bring to a low boil. Place the chicken in the pot, give everything a good stir, and then cover your pot. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and let it simmer for 10 minutes, until the celery is tender. Taste your soup, and if you require more seasoning you can add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mine, and it tasted perfect. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with some dill fronds if you’d like. I devoured mine on it’s own, but I think it would be delicious with some buttered gluten free toast, or a chunk of crusty sourdough bread. I recommend making a double batch of this soup so that you can freeze some to have on a chilly night when you just don’t feel like cooking.