potato leek soup

potato leek soup, originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.

When the nighttime temperature dips and the sun sets early in the evening, it’s time to break out the sweaters, jackets, winter blankets, and cook some soup. For me, soup is the ultimate comfort food: simple, filling, and even better when eaten the next day as leftovers. I also like the concept of one-pot meals too.

I was wondering what to do for dinner last week–I was home alone, and pondering the notion of just skipping dinner. But I did not feel like skipping dinner, and I did not feel like anything cold, and I did not feel like making a series of snacks for dinner, and I did not feel like making something elaborate, either. It was dinner for one on a chilly night.

I kept opening the refrigerator, taking inventory as usual, mixing up the ingredients in my head. Among the carrots and onions and tofu and various other ingredients, there were leeks and potatoes–could I make a minestrone soup? For some reason, I was not in a tomato-mood. I pondered making a Korean soup, but I wanted something heartier: I would make potato leek soup.

Usually, I must profess, when it comes to these sorts of soups, I skip the pureeing step. Just too lazy, and I figure: doesn’t it just all taste the same in the mouth? (I know that texture plays a HUGE role in taste, but my laziness made me answer, “Right, it’s all the same ingredients.”) But once I got cooking, I was filled with an enthusiasm for my “dinner for one.” Why NOT go all the way? It has been one of my personal challenges to cook myself satisfying and elegant “dinners for one.” I would puree the damn thing and make a beautiful potato leek soup.

I did.

The steps are very easy–I caught up with “Grey’s Anatomy” on my TiVO as the leeks and potatoes browned, then simmered. I pushed pause to puree the broth and softened vegetables, and I settled onto the couch with a tasty and comforting bowl of soup to watch the end of the episode.

There are many potato leek soup recipes out there–many of them involve cream and can get quite heavy. I made a very light version of this soup, choosing to garnish it with a small dollop of light sour cream. (You can also omit the sour cream, too–it tastes yummy both ways).

On another note: my hubby came home right after I’d finished my bowl and asked, “What is the yummy smell?” He eagerly had a bowl of this soup, too. There was barely any leftover, though this soup tastes quite good the next day as well.

Recipe follows after the jump…

serves 4

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise,
thinly sliced (cleaning tip: I like to put them in a bowl of water and swirl them around gently–the dirt and grit fall to the bottom of the bowl of water. I then gently pick the leeks out of the surface of the water with my hands)
* 2 large russet potatoes peeled, diced into 1 inch cubes
* 3 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth (or vegetable broth if you’re veggie)
* 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

* Sour cream to garnish
* Chives to garnish

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add tarragon. Add 3 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with sour cream and chives and serve.

4 responses to “potato leek soup

  1. Yum! I love potato leek soup. Thanks for another great recipe. I wlil definitely make this this week . At first I thought the dollop of sour cream was a little pat of butter and I was like, OOH YUM!

  2. mmmm – I love potato leek soup. I’m making it constantly! I season mine with thyme and parsley in a bouquet garni, and garnish with chives and a drizzle of evo. I think I’m going to try it with tarragon next. I like to add a little cream for richness, but use mostly milk to thin it out. In the summer, I strain it and chill it and eat it cold (vichysoisse). It’s amazing how different temperatures bring out different flavors Sometimes, I like to throw in a handful of sorrel leaves with the puree. It turns the soup a bright green, and lends a nice lemony tang (garnish is a chiffonade of sorrel and a dab of creme fraiche).

    I often cook the veggies early in the week and wait until I’m ready to serve to puree and add the dairy. That way, I don’t have to worry about the hot soup spurting out the blender lid – it’s a common cause of burns for cooks, even in restaurants. Also, if I make a huge batch, I can serve it a few ways later in the week, “county style” (unpureed), traditional, or with the sorrel, etc.

  3. Connie: i am liking your variations–and I like your technique. I do like the idea of making a huge “base” batch and serving it in various ways later on.

    And yes, the soup did spurt out of the food processor! Only because I overfilled it and it gushed out the bottom. 🙂 Be sure to do it in small batches, and after the soup has cooled a bit!

    The tarragon was really great in the soup. I love tarragon.

  4. I often skip the pureeing part too. But your soup looks so elegant, I think I might try that next time 🙂

    Our leeks are finally ready for eating, so we’ve been making lots of potato leeky soop as my youngest daughter would put it 🙂

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