Golden Potato Leek Soup

January 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

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Soup is a winter diet staple. I like to make a big pot of soup on a weekend afternoon while my daughter naps, then serve it fresh and hot for dinner (if I can prevent my husband from going to the well periodically – that man loves his soup…)  I recently learned that January is National Soup Month. So when my CSA delivered four gorgeous, slender leeks a few weeks ago, I decided I’d try my hand at potato leek soup. I researched different recipes heavily and came up with my own very easy version.  I’m a few weeks late posting this, but at least I made it in time for National Soup Month.  If you’re eager to get to the recipe, you can scroll to the end of this post.

The fundamental recipe is 6 cups liquid, 4 well-sized leeks, 6 medium to large sized potatoes, plus seasoning. You can make this soup vegan by using water and oil, vegetarian by introducing milk and/or butter, or use chicken stock or broth for the omnivore(s) in your life.

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Be sure to clean your leeks well. First, chop of the harder green leaf tops and discard, or you could use them to make vegetable stock. Next, cut off base and roots off, about 3/4 inch above the roots. Peel off the outer leaves if they are dry and/or dirty and discard. Then, slice leeks in half length-wise, then clean well under running water or by submerging and swirling the leeks in cold water. Dry leeks well before chopping for use. I love the layered curls of leeks, there is something so whimsical about them.

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What makes the soup this post about “golden” is the use of Yukon Gold potatoes, and some rich homemade chicken stock. I used a mix of larger potatoes I received from my CSA and some smaller creamer potatoes I had in the pantry.

I wish I had an immersion blender, but I don’t. So I just used my regular old blender and that worked just fine.

This version of potato leek soup is mild, tasty, and hearty without being heavy. The only negative, according to my husband, is there wasn’t enough to result in leftovers. “Next time, make a triple batch,” he said. I think I will have to make a double batch next time.

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RECIPE:
Golden Potato Leek Soup

4 large leeks, cleaned and finely sliced (discard rough green tops)
6 medium large potatoes, or roughly 1 1/4 pounds, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons butter, or olive oil for vegans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf (omit if using stock or broth vs. water)
4 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water (you can also use milk or water in any combination, so long as you have 6 c liquid)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste

In large pot, melt butter.  Add sliced leeks and salt and cook on medium, stirring frequently, until transparent and wilted; you do  not want to brown or overcook the leeks.

Add liquid, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf (if using) to pot and increase heat to bring to a soft boil.  Cover and simmer for roughly half an hour, or until potatoes are soft and break easily with a fork.  Remove from heat, and fish the bay leaf out and discard.

Add red pepper and black pepper and stir.  If you have an immersion blender, use it here to puree the soup.  If you do not have an immersion blender, most of this soup will fit in your blender, and what doesn’t fit can be mixed in with the pureed soup for a most pleasing texture.  If using the blender technique, pulse until sufficiently pureed, then pour back into pot and stir to blend the pureed soup with the chunky bits.

Serve immediately, or rest soup on low and serve within an hour or so.  Leftover soup can be kept, covered tightly and refrigerated, for up to a week.

Happy nibbling,
Sarah

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