This is a veggie variation on a favorite soup of ours, and another excuse to make cornbread to go with it. Inspired by Jamie Oliver. Serves 4-6.
4 medium red potatoes (about 1 lb), washed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium or salt-free)
4 small leeks (small ones are more tender)
1 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dry thyme
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
To prepare the leeks, cut off the green leaves and about half of the pale green stalk. Keeping the root bottom intact, slice the leek in half from the trimmed end. Open the stalk and rinse thoroughly under running water to remove sand. Then finely slice the leek, discarding the root cap at the bottom.
In a soup pot, saute the leeks in olive oil over medium heat until tender (about 8 minutes). Then add the thyme, pepper, vegetable broth, and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are completely cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Add the chickpeas when the potatoes are soft.
Next, decide what consistency of soup you want. You can serve it as-is for a chunky soup, or puree half of it using a puree wand or food processor, or do what I do which is puree all of it for a smoother, thicker consistency. When you are satisfied with the texture, stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.