Yesterday was the first day of Spring. Sunshine, flowers, and nice days, right?
Here in Sacramento? Winter got its calendar dates mixed up and forgot it was supposed to exit Saturday night. It’s been raining here for what seems like a week, and there is another week of it coming. I know, I know. It rains in Spring. But this rain? It’s cold. I’m back in my turtlenecks and Uggs.
So, what’s for dinner? Soup, of course. I love making soup. It warms you from the inside out. And it tastes yummy too. This soup is one of my favorites: Potato Leek Soup. You might ask, what is a leek? This is a leek:
It’s in the onion family. It looks like a green onion on steroids. In fact, it tastes like a cross between a green onion and a regular onion. I love cooking with them.
If you’ve never used them before, be sure to clean them very well. They are grown in sandy soil and it can get caught in the layers. I cut off the tough green stems, dice the rest and soak them in water for a few minutes. Then pull them out of the water and drain. The dirt should sink to the bottom of the bowl of water and you’ll have clean leeks ready for cooking.
The other part of this soup that makes it so yummy is the bacon. Isn’t everything better with bacon? (Of course, if you want the soup to be vegetarian, leave this out.)
You can serve this soup chunky or pureed. I prefer pureed, because honestly? I don’t like chunks. It’s a texture thing, leftover from my (still somewhat) picky eater days. I puree my soup with an immersion blender, but you can also do it in batches with a regular blender (just be careful when blending hot liquids).
Once it’s blended you have to determine if it’s thin enough for soup (sometimes it turns out too thick, like baby food). You can add some more stock or water to thin it. Then, if you want a really rich, yummy soup you can add whipping cream half and half milk to give it a creamier texture.
Top it with the bacon and you’re good to go. (It’s even good with some cheese on top.)
Stay warm and enjoy!
Potato Leek Soup
3 slices bacon
3 russet potatoes (medium-large)
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
Pinch salt and pepper for leeks, then potatoes, then to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh, chopped
2 tablespoons half and half or milk
Additional stock or water, if needed
1. Heat a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Cook your bacon until crispy. Set aside on paper towels to drain.
2. Meanwhile, slice and wash your leeks. Cut off the rough green tops and dice the remaining white portion. Soak in a bowl of water for a minute or two, remove and drain.
3. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the bacon pot. Add your leaks, season with salt and pepper (about an 1/8 of a teaspoon each) and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
4. While the leeks are cooking, peel and dice your potatoes. (The soup will be blended so the size and shape don’t matter, however the smaller the potato the faster the soup cooks.) Add the potatoes to the pot with the leeks. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper and the thyme and cook 2 minutes.
5. Add your stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Taste for seasoning – add more salt and pepper if needed.
6. If you are using a regular blender to puree, work in batches to blend your soup. If you have an immersion blender, use it in the pot to save yourself lots of clean-up.
7. Return to stove. At this point, if your soup is too thick (like baby food and not like soup), add more stock or water until it reaches the desired consistency (probably around ½ cup). Taste for seasoning – add more salt and pepper if needed. Stir over low heat until warmed through. Add your milk/half and half/cream and stir to combine.
8. Remember that bacon? Crumble/chop it and serve it on top of your soup. Grated cheddar cheese would also be awesome on top.
Source: recipe has been adapted from Rachael Ray
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Published on: March 21, 2011