Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup



I love cooking during the summer.  It's easy (mostly barbecue - less dishes which helps when you don't have a dishwasher), it's lighter and it's always so much fun to check out the local outdoor farmer's markets and grab whatever produce is in season.  That being said, we live outside during the summer. The t.v. collects a lot of dust while we sit outside in the evenings in our tiny backyard patio.


I'm not a cold weather person, at all.  Even the current Toronto temperatures of 10 Celsius seem arctic to me.  It's not so easy now to just get up in the morning, throw on flip flops and shades and go grab a coffee.  Now it's coats and boots (today it was rain boots).  Even the dog won't go out in the rain.  I guess she doesn't want to ruin her 'do'.


On a positive note, I love soup and since I've been baking a lot of bread lately it's definitely an awesome pairing.  There are only the two of us here and most recipes for soup make at least 6 servings which is fine with me because it's usually better the next day (and I don't have to make dinner if there's leftovers)

I've tried a lot of  leek and potato recipes.  A lot.  I keep going back to this one.  Emeril Lagasse is not know for his 'low cal' recipes but I say 'why not?'.  In my opinion the thing that 'makes' this soup is the bacon.  But hey, doesn't bacon make EVERYTHING better? 
He has a crafty way of incorporating meat ('fat') into his recipes and hiding it.  Gotta love him for that :)




Potato and Leek Soup
recipe slightly modified from Food Network
makes about 6 servings.
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock  (use homemade, trust me)
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
Make a bouquet garni by tying the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.
Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.  (I save some of the washed green parts that are closest to the white part in a freezer bag for use in making homemade chicken stock).
In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.
Remove the bouquet garni and with a slotted spoon remove a few spoonfuls of potatoes and reserve in a bowl.  Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or immersion blender.  Return the reserved potatoes to the pot once soup is blended.  Stir in the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.  This is really great with a bit of sour cream on top along with the green onion/chives.

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