There is a great restaurant located here in southern Illinois called Mary's. It has been well-known and loved for many years. Even as a college student here at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, it was widely known as "The" place for a very special dinner.
Although the original owner, Mary Licos retired and sold the restaurant many years ago, the new owner, David Hayes, and his crew have done an amazing job ever since.
Each fall and winter, they offer a wonderful Pumpkin Leek Soup. I enjoyed it so much that I have come up with my own version. It is a bit different from Mary's, but it reminds me of the original!
This soup reminds me of the holidays, and is perfect for an intro to a great meal. I have made it with either carrots or pumpkin. My guests love it, and I'm sure yours will as well.
Pumpkin (or Carrot) Leek Soup
6 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds, (1 lb.) or 1 can of pumpkin
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
3 ribs celery with leaves, cut into 1/2 inch segments
2 medium leeks, white part only, cut into 1/2 inch segments
4 c. water
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. fresh dill, chopped
4 t. sugar
1/2 t. white pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 c. cream or half and half
1/2 c. butter
Sour cream and fresh dill for garnish
Place vegetables in food processor bowl with 1 cup of the broth. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to soup pot. Stir in the rest of the broth and spices. Cover and simmer until tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
Use an emulsion blender to blend until smooth right in the pot. Or, transfer the mixture in 3 batches to a blender to puree. Make sure that you only fill the blender 1/2 full to allow for expansion. Also, it's a good idea to put a kitchen towel over the lid prior to blending.
Return all to soup pot. Stir in the cream and butter. Cover and heat through. Do not boil. Garnish with sour cream and fresh dill springs. Serves 8. Enjoy!