Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hey! Don't Throw That Away! Part 2: Potato Leek Soup

Hey all,

If you had a chance to read my last post about chicken stock, you know it was the start to a fun weekend of cooking.

So it was the end of the week, and I had all this lovely chicken stock. We were coming up on labor day weekend, and holiday weekends in New York tend to be a great time when enough people leave that it seems like the city is empty. This empty city led to a text from a friend, asking if i was in town, and if so, i could go and pick up their CSA I happily agreed, not being a member of a CSA myself, to partake in fresh veggies. So on Saturday morning I headed down the block and picked up: 4 carrots, a bunch of beets, 2 leeks, a bunch of kale, 4 heads of garlic, a bunch of yellow wax beans, 4 ears of corn, and two onions.

It was such a wonderful experience, to get to the park and take the allotted veggies from the containers full of freshly harvested, organically farmed beautiful vegetables. When i got home I assessed the bounty and decided (among other things) to make a potato leek soup.

I had a couple of potatoes in the cupboard, two fresh leeks, plenty of chicken broth, and fresh parsley growing on my roof. So I cut away the roots and the dark green parts of the leeks, slice the leeks, lengthwise, down the middle, and immersed them in water to clean them. Leeks can get very gritty, and because their layers are so tightly packed, I have found that the only way to adequately clean them is to take them apart with the one slice down the middle, and then soak them well, changing the water a couple of times as needed.

I got onto epicurious, as I recalled them having a very straightforward recipe that I have used as a starting point for this soup in the past:
Aside from the leeks, potatoes, chicken broth and parsley I already knew I had, I also had the unsalted butter the recipe called for, as well as garlic and cayenne powder, that weren't listed in the recipe, but that I used.

Once the leeks are clean, chop them into small-medium sized pieces, they do not need to be too small or too uniform.

Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic

Cook the leeks and garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter with salt and pepper and a couple of dashes of cayenne for about 10 minutes, covered, over moderately low heat, until the leeks are nice and soft. I used to be a culprit of cooking everything over too high a flame. Then when I started cooking on my current stove, where I have different sized burners and had more control, I learned to use the burners and flame levels differently, and have had a lot more success.

Once the leek-garlic mixture is softened but not brown, add 2 and a half cups of chicken broth and the diced potatoes (The recipe I have linked above calls for 1 1/2 cups of water and a cup of broth, and peeled potatoes- but- I had lovely (unsalted) homemade chicken broth that I was excited to use, and I didn't think the potatoes I had on hand needed peeling... so I didn't peel them)

Cover, turn the heat up a bit (depending on the size of your burner) so that your soup comes to a simmer, and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

Pour ~1 cup of your soup into a food processor or blender, and puree. Return the puree into the pot, and stir it into the soup, along with 2 tablespoons of minced parsley.

The soup will need salt (and pepper) if you used unsalted butter and unsalted broth, so add it to taste, and sit down with your bowl of soup.

This is the beauty of fresh ingredients and a simple recipe, you can tweak it to your tastes- I added garlic (i know you're shocked) and cayenne, and used more broth than called for. However, you could very easily add cream in place of some of the additional broth if that's your preference. So enjoy the start of soup season, and get cooking!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds yummy! Nice that you only pureed part of it - I like my potato-leek soup to have a little chunky texture to it rather than just all mush.