Sunday, January 14, 2007

Potato and Leek Soup

Time for a change of pace. No politics, no environment but something just as important to me and that is good food. Today I'm going to share my recipe for Potato and Leek Soup which is surprisingly easy and absolutely wonderful on a cold winter's day. The nice thing about this recipe is that you have a number of options depending on your mood. Hot, cold, simple and honest or enriched with cream and decadent. Serve it with a nice wine and some good crusty bread and maybe a nice salad and you have a complete meal. It is often my complete dinner.

You need:
3 leeks white part only well rinsed and sliced thinly in rings(leeks should be about an inch or so in diameter)
1 pound of russet or Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cubed in about half inch dice
4 - 5 cups of low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock will work)
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional) I sometimes us plain yogurt instead or nothing
3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil or a mixture
2 teaspoons of salt
additional salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley for garnish
2 bay leaves
couple of dashes of Tobasco

In your soup pot heat the butter and add the leeks and salt and saute for about five or ten minutes until softened ( will put the lid on the pot and sweat them a little. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two then add the potatoes. Add the stock to cover the potatoes by a half inch or so and the bay leaves along with a few grinds of pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 - 40 minutes until the potatoes are 'mashable'. Remove the bay leaves and using an immersion blender or food processor blend the soup until you have a nice smooth soup or if you prefer a little more texture lighten up on the blending and leave some lumps of potato. Add a couple of dashes of Tobasco but not too much. You don't want to taste the hot sauce. Adjust the salt and add the cream if you would like to jazz it up a bit and make it a little richer or as I say above I sometimes use plain yogurt. Garnish with some chopped parsley or chives and you are ready to eat.

You can chill this soup and serve it cold which is better known as Vichyssoise though I prefer it hot. If you want to make it ahead it keeps fine for a few days. Just don't add the cream until you heat it up to serve.

Another variation which is good is to add three chopped, seeded tomatoes when you add the potato or a cup and a half of canned chopped or crushed tomatoes.

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