Since I'm pressed for time these days necessitating a temporary departure from blogging, I figured I'd make a crock pot recipe, thus freeing me up to do other things while my dinner essentially cooked itself. I didn't anticipate the hour of prep this one would take...
My index finger is sporting a large blister (covered by Polysporin under a Scooby Doo band-aid, naturally) from chopping, chopping, and more stupid chopping. I hate leeks and onions! Ok, admittedly, part of the problem is probably the fact that I chop, slice, and dice EVERYTHING with my little yellow paring knife. But that's because it's the only good knife on the premises that I'm not afraid of using.
This was my first time using leeks in anything. I usually avoid eating them too. They look weird at the grocery store, and seem to be related to onions. Why would I want them? But, with this cooking experiment voyage I have embarked on, I figured I'd better try some new things or what's the point of it all? Yes, I could become an expert at making Kraft Dinner, but it really wouldn't get me too far in life, and I hate being one dimensional.
Since leeks are foreign to me, I hacked out a quick email to the Maman to pick her culinary brain on which parts I use, and how best to use them. She doesn't cook with them much either but gave me some suggestions which I coupled with the tag that came on the leeks. Recipe calls for 2 leeks so naturally the grocery store sells the blasted things in a bunch of 3. You don't know how tempted I was, there in the produce section, to yank one leek out and just buy two. I didn't do it because I was on lunch and didn't have time to explain to the police why I'd done that if anyone had noticed. Now I have a lone leek in the fridge. Free to a good home other than mine....
Leeks, like my nemesis onions, are slippery and difficult to chop. I was getting better at chopping onions through tears, and wisely saved them for last this time, but the leeks got to me long before I got to the onions. Tedious, tedious, chop, chop, leek ala floor, chop, chop, chop, now I have a blister. Woe is me. I chopped the first leek up into really small pieces because I don't want a big mouthful of yuck, and I don't want to taste the yuck either. That's become my way of working with recipes that request onions: I chop them into microscopic pieces so to better pretend they're not there. By the time I got to the second leek, I just hacked it into somewhat bigger pieces and hoped for the best.
Another suggestion for this recipe before it turns into an anti-leek-and-onion-rant: Unless you're using sodium-reduced everything, this one might not be so good to partake in if you're on a sodium-restricted diet. To my palate, so far it's pretty salty, but it is still cooking while I type this. Once I finally found the bloody bouillon cubes, I had a few different choices for chicken flavour so you might want the less salt ones that I didn't end up choosing. And if you're shopping at the Metro on Wellington Road in London, the cubes are not in the soup aisle - the organic ones are but they don't come in chicken flavour - they're in the spice section, two aisles over. Annoying, I know.
Oh, and I'll give you another little tidbit of information: get a BIG crockpot if you don't reduce the ingredients. If you follow the link at the top of this blog, you'll notice that the recipe is helpfully lacking some key information such as how many servings it makes (more than my crockpot can hold I discovered the hard way), any nutritional information (is it that bad?), and how long to expect the prep to take (if you're me, better allow at least an hour, including the cursing). Jenny warned me this recipe might make large quantities but I didn't listen.
I haven't yet reached the point where I can look at a recipe, see that it calls for 6 potatoes, and know that it will cause a near overflow of my crockpot. My brain sees this instead: "Oh, 6 potatoes. Ok, this is a good recipe. I have 12 potatoes that I'm trying to use up and this will take care of half of them. Leeks? Gross. I guess I'll try them. I wonder if I have the celery soup at home already? I think I ran out of carrots last week. Hey, basil in a squeeze tube, cool!"....and so it goes.
Well, since this freakin' recipe took forever (4 hours on high, milk in for the last hour), I've already had a salad for dinner and I'm close to going to bed but I'll try it. Salty, yessir, but that's probably more a result of my palate not being used to salty foods. I don't normally add salt to stuff. The vegetables are nice and tender (hot too, I just burned my mouth), and the microscopic onion and leek are hardly noticeable. Just the way they should be.