Monday, April 26, 2010

Potato & Leek Soup

One of my all-time favorite irish classics, a good potato and leek soup just smells and tastes... good. Before the summer came on full force, I wanted to sneak this recipe in. I adapted mine from a combination of a recipe in the joy of cooking, dean & deluca's recipe for vichyssoise, and my own tastes. It's easy enough to take this heartier version and turn it into many different forms! Enjoy!!

1 and 1/4 pound potatoes
*I like red baby creamers or a mix of purple, white and red, and I keep the skins on. Roughly chop. Place in cold water in a bowl and let soak.

2-3 large leeks, white parts only
*make sure you clean these well. Chop off the green stalks. The best way to get the grit is to split them lengthwise and spread out the layers under a running tap. Chop into thin slices.

1 onion- I used half of a red and half of a white, but any combo will do. Cut thin.

3 cloves of garlic- minced

half a stick of butter

1 quart chicken stock (I used "organic free range")

fresh chives

salt and pepper

1 cup milk (more to taste)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Melt the butter in a deep pot over very low heat. Add the leeks, onion, and garlic and let cook down, approximately 45 minutes. Be careful not to let them brown.

2. Turn up the heat to simmer. Add in chicken stock and potatoes. Reserve the soaking water in case you need to thin the soup later. Let potatoes cook until they are super tender, and falling apart. Do not bring the soup to a boil. (If veggies dry out, add in a little bit of the potato water.) I'd say it took a good 40 minutes to get them tender.

*At this point I went to bed and let the soup sit on the stove top over night. Not necessary, but a good long sit never hurt anything.

3. Puree the soup in a blender or by passing through a mill or masher. At this point, you can determine the texture to your taste and intention. I like to keep the soup on the thicker side, with actual bites of potato as well, and so I only roughly puree about 3/4 of the soup. If you want to turn this into vichyssoise or make into a more delicate version, then go ahead and puree finely the whole batch, and strain the liquid from the puree and reserve in separate bowls.

4. Also, if you like, you can leave the soup sans the milk and cream, and simply serve at this point.

For a 'cream of potato and leek" or vichysoisse:

If chilling or creaming, bring the cup of milk and the cup of cream to a bowl and simmer for a few minutes. Add in slowly to soup, adjusting for desired consistency and creaminess. You will want/need more milk and cream if you want it nice and thick- up to 3 cups milk and 1 cup cream. Same for vichyssoise, you will need to mix the milk with the puree and strain one more time, and then chill and serve the liquid portion.

Salt and pepper the finished soup to taste, and cut fresh chives as a garnish. Serve with a slice of hearty bread, and enjoy!!

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