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Slow Cooked Fragrant Leek Broth

Quantities here are for about 2 portions, so double or triple as necessary.

· 1-2 leeks

· Vegetable stock

· Fennel seeds

· Coriander seeds

· Bay leaves

· Chilli flakes, dry chilli or fresh chilli

· Fresh garlic

· Peppercorns

· Salt

· Lemon (rind and juice)

· 1 tin (or equivalent) cooked pulses- chick peas, yellow peas, white beans etc.

· Olive oil

1. Cut the leeks into 2-3inch lengths. Run them under cold water to clean. If they are particularly muddy, they may need cutting in half to clean properly.

2. Add the leeks to a slow cooker. Cover with decent vegetable (or chicken) stock. Add 2 tsp of coriander seed, 2 tsp of fennel seed, 4 bay leaves, 1tsp of pepper corns, 1tsp of chilli flakes. Add 4 cloves of peeled garlic. Use a peeler to zest 1 lemon (careful to avoid too much of the white pith) and add to the stock.

3. Cook on ‘High’ in the slow cooker for 2-3 hours, until the leeks are soft. This can be done on a hob, cook on a low heat for about 45mins-1hr until the leeks are soft. Add the lemon rind towards the end to avoid the broth becoming to bitter.

4. Once the leeks are soft, remove from the liquid. Sieve the broth to remove the seeds and return the broth to the slow cooker or a pan. Add 1 tin of chickpeas (or other) and heat through in the slow-cooker or on the hob (quicker, of course). If you have a tea 'ball', bouquet garni bag or something that can infuse the spices, the leeks and beans can be cooked together.

5. If using tinned pulses, add the ‘aquafaba’ too. This will help thicken the broth slightly, and you’ll be able to taste the flavours better. Otherwise, mash the pulses slightly to release some starch and thicken the broth.

6. Once the pulses are heated through, taste the broth. It may need more salt (depending on what stock was used) or more stock powder. After adjusting the salt, add lemon juice a little at a time. Keep adding until the acidity is right- this will be about ¼ of a lemon.

7. Return the leeks to the broth and heat through.

8. Once everything is hot, transfer to bowls and drizzle with good olive oil (optional). Potato or other veg can be cooked with the chickpeas/beans to make a heartier soup.

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