“What’s your favourite kind of soup?”, I asked, while we sat in the grass at Parliament Hill.
She cackled, “I don’t know! Uhh, I guess potato. Probably potato!”
“Mine, too! Well, potato LEEK. So, I guess that’s, like, a step up from yours.'”, I said.
I met Heather when she started at the university art gallery I was working at around 2008 and above is an actual conversation we had early in our friendship. We didn’t get a lot of one-on-one time at work because we worked opposite shifts. However, I knew we were gonna be best buds when we worked a catered gallery event together, drank wine in secrecy, talked about Will Smith, and The Moon from The Mighty Boosh.
A year or so after we had finished working for the gallery, she had managed to encourage me from afar to get off of the fence and get onto a flight to Korea when I was undecided and idling in Ottawa after graduation. There, she took me under her wing, introduced me to everything (and everyone) I grew to love in Korea.
One of the many things that I love about Heather is her complete attentiveness to detail. She remembers things that I don’t even remember telling her. Things that are seemingly insignificant at the time. A couple years later in Korea, long after our great soup debate on Parliament Hill, she presented me with a homemade potato LEEK soup on my birthday. That was the moment when I fully understood the incredible amount of thought and effort she puts into her friendships. She knows exactly how to make a person feel important.
I wanted to do a potato leek soup dedicated to Heather. After some thought, I decided to take it up a notch by adding asparagus to the recipe.
So, I guess that’s, like, a step up from hers.
- 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 large leeks, white parts chopped
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 medium sized onions, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 5 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp flour
- 1 cup cream or milk
- 2 tbsp oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and leeks; season with salt and pepper. Stir for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the asparagus, but reserve the tips for later. Add the garlic and oregano and stir until fragrant. Stir in the potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
Add in the stock and bring the heat up high to boil for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Meanwhile, in a separate small pot or pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, whisk in the flour and mix until thickened.
Add this to the soup pot, add the asparagus tips, and boil until asparagus tips are soft and the soup is thick. Stir in the the cream or milk and simmer 5 more minutes. Mash or blend some, if you like. We like biting into chunks of asparagus and potatoes, so I only mashed a bit.
I served this with oregano pepper biscuits I had made earlier in the week. Though, I imagine any buttered bread would do.
Serves 4 – 6.