Potato & Leek Soup
SO, LAST WEEK I PREPARED a great dinner with my friend, Lauren, who was nice enough to buy all the groceries needed to make the meal. But as is always the case, many ingredients were not totally used and remained in my refrigerator over the weekend.
As I was cleaning out the fridge this morning, I marveled at how fresh (and, of course, still usable) many of my sundries were. And as I grabbed them one by one and place them on the counter—leeks, potatoes, bacon, fresh basil, heavy cream, chicken stock—I knew exactly what I could and would make for lunch: Potato & Leek Soup!
Quickly enough, my last two slices of bacon was chopped up and thrown into a large pot with some salt, pepper and a little bit of oil to keep it from sticking. Then two stalks of leeks and my last three garlic cloves were thinly slice and tossed in as well.
Over medium heat, I stirred until the garlic just started to brown (I don't mind the leeks browning a tad), then cubed five Idaho potatoes and thrown in as well, tossing them in the oil. Many folks like to add the liquids to the pot before the potatoes; I work on the theory that the potatoes will have more flavor if they absorb the oil first, and then later the liquid.
I deglaze the yummy full-of-flavor brown bits at the bottom of the pot a cup of white wine. Then I added two cups of chicken stock (again, my last), and a cup of the heavy cream.
I then brought that to a brief boil before turning the heat down to a little more than a simmer and let the flavors cook for about a half an hour, stirring often, making sure to keep any of the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot,
After that half hour, I poured all the solid bits and as much of the liquid as possible into a blender for a 30-second purée, then back into the pot, and continued heating on low while finishing the soup with a stir of a palmful of parmesan cheese.
I turned the heat of, ladeled the soup into my default soup bowl (and a cupful into a mug for my next door neighbor, Gina), and topped it off with some Carr's Rosemary Crackers and some chopped green parts of raw leeks, which not only added nice little bursts of bite-sized flavor, but added a nice, almost crunchy textural compliment.
I was very happy with the flavors—rustic, seasonal, aromatic, balanced and warming—and was even more proud of getting the desired creaminess in the consistency without any of the heaviness. Even Gina, a confessed soup addict, said she was impressed, although admittedly, neither one of our opinions are 100% objective (she loves me!).
So, next time I see Lauren, I owe her a thank you for sponsoring a completely separate meal. Oh yeah, and for the half of the 1.5 liter bottle of cabernet sauvignon that I'm enjoying while I write all of this!
Bun Apple Tea!
Potato & Leek Soup