Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Leek and Potato soup - Hot. Take I.

I came home late from work on Monday night, and although we had a refrigerator full of food, the inevitable question came up: what to eat when you've got just vegetables on hand? Since potato-leek soup was on the list for this week, I thought we could at least prep the vegetables so we'd have a head start the next day. On pulling out Julia's "The Way to Cook", I discovered potato-leek soup is surprisingly easy - really easy. And fast. Chop potatoes, chop leeks, simmer in water or broth 20 minutes, blend it only if you feel like it (we did). Done. If you like it cold, you can chill it to make Vichyssoise, but the only modification is to use only the white parts of the leeks, not the light green parts.

The useful comments we can give about this soup are that it is certainly yummy, but is a real winner as a base for some other bright or loud flavor. We dolloped a bit of crème fraîche on the top, a bit of salt and pepper, and brainstormed about what could go in it. The flavor we used that night was a bit of minced scallion — a perfect light oniony foil for the thick, rich, and subtly flavored base. We'd have used chives, but we ran out.

As a matter of record: purple potatoes make gray soup. Just say'n.

Julia's Potato-Leek Soup, or Vichyssoise
Modified for two (one small appetite and one huge one)
  • 2 medium to large (not purple) potatoes, diced
  • 2 large leeks, sliced in 1/4" rounds to the light green part, soaked in water to remove grit
  • 3 cups Safeway Organics chicken broth (3/4 of the box) - Julia says you can use easily use water instead
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
  • some crazy strongly-flavored something (2 Tbl scallions, 2 tsp lemon thyme, etc.)
  • couple dollops sour cream or crème fraîche
  1. Bring vegetables in the broth or water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Salt, cover partially, and simmer 20 minutes. If the veggies aren't tender, try another 10 min or so.
  3. Keep it as is with flavoring, or puree in a good blender with the flavoring of choice (careful of explosions!) if you feel like a velvety soup.
  4. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche.

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