Thursday, November 16, 2017

ChezCindy: Classic Potato-Leek Soup

Classic Potato-Leek Soup

Potato-leek soup is a classic soup.  It became somewhat elevated to a vogue status by Julia Child with the cold soup, Vichyssoise.  There is debate on the origin of the cold potato-leek soup as to whether it is French born or American invented.  It most likely was a soup of necessity in Europe when food was scarce and potatoes and onions were inexpensive staples of the kitchen. 

Traditional recipes most often include butter and cream, a nod to the French no doubt.  However in the recipe provided below, I use no dairy for an updated version of the classic, with no sacrifice to the flavor.  And, I serve it as hot soup.  If you were to make this recipe with intentions to serve it as a cold Vichyssoise, I would advise the use of butter and cream, as cold soup requires a greater depth of flavor since chilling dulls the overall taste. 

Leeks are a flavorful vegetable with a taste related to onions and garlic, but uniquely milder.  They will need a thorough rinsing as dirt hides within the layers.  To rinse them, cut off the darker green part leaving only the pale green and white.  Leaving the root-end intact, cut through the leek lengthwise, splitting from the root to the top.  Rinse under cold water separating the layers to rinse away the dirt.  Drain cut side down on paper towels. 

Classic Potato-Leek Soup
2 tablespoons oil
2 large leeks or 3 small
1 small white onion
2 large russet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
5 cups of chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Working with a large heavy bottomed pan, add the oil, set over medium high heat.  Rinse the leeks thoroughly and cut into thin slices.  Cut the onion into thin slices.  Add the leeks and onions to the oiled pan, along with 1 teaspoon of salt.  Cook until wilted but with no browning, about 4 minutes.  Peel and dice the potatoes, add to the pan, stirring to coat.  Add the chicken stock, remaining salt and white pepper.  Cover, lowering the heat to medium low, and cook for 25 - 30 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.  Remove from heat and cool soup for 5 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and silky.  Taste to adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Serve hot. 

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