Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

One of my favorite winter time treats is Potato Leek Soup. The soup is very simple, but hardy and satisfying. I usually top the soup with some smoked salmon. I had the opportunity to make one last batch this weekend before the weather warms up. My best friend was not feeling well and asked if I could make this soup for her. My friend, much like me, likes anything potato. Below is my recipe for potato leek soup.

3 russet potatoes (sliced)
2 large new potatoes (sliced)
1 shallot (chopped)
2 leeks (chopped)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Sprig of Thyme
1 quart low sodium chicken broth or vegetarian broth
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Start by washing and scrubbing the potatoes as I leave the skins on. I choose to peel the new potatoes as they will discolor the soup. I find slicing the potatoes allows them to cook quickly.

Leeks add a wonderful dimension to this soup, but they required a some preparation before they ready to be used. Here are some tips on how to prepare them:
  • Cut the root end
  • Trim the green ends and discard discolored or tough leaves
  • Cut leek length wise and then chop
  • Fill a bowl with water and place chopped leeks. The dirt will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  • Place leeks in a colander and then rinse one more time. Don't pour the leeks into the colander because you will transfer the dirt to the bowl.

I generally use the light and dark part of the leeks because I saute them down to soften them (besides discarding them is wasteful)
Next, heat a large stock pot. Add the Olive oil, then add the leeks, shallots, and a sprig of Thyme. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the leeks are soft and caramelized.

Add sliced potatoes, salt and pepper. Stir to coat potatoes with the oil and leek mixture. Add chicken broth (be sure to cover potatoes), and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, stir and then drop the heat to medium. Cover and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
For a creamier consistency, you can puree half of the mixture in a blender or a food processor. Then return to the pot.
To thin out the soup, add one cup of milk or cream. Cook for 2 minutes.
I like to top my soup with slices of smoked salmon.

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