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Creamy Heart of Palm Soup

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Serves: 4
25g / 1 oz butter
10ml / 2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, finely sliced
15ml / 1 tbsp plain flour
1 litre / 1 3/4 pints well-flavoured chicken stock
350g / 12 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 x 400g / 14 oz cans hearts of palm, drained and sliced
250ml / 8 fl oz double cream
salt and ground black pepper
cayenne pepper and chopped fresh chives, to garnish

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add the onion and leek and stir well until coated in butter. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until softened and translucent.

Sprinkle over the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and add the potatoes. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the hearts of palm and the cream, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Process in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and heat gently, adding a little water if necessary. The consistency should be thick but not too heavy. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Ladle the soup into heated bowls and garnish each with a pinch of cayenne pepper and a scattering of fresh chives. Serve immediately.

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