This soup makes my lovely wife Rebecca very happy when its cold out. It's filling, nutritious, and easy to make. Enjoy it on whatever cold days remain this winter, or serve it cold in the summer!
Rebecca laughed at me for taking photos of this recipe, but I think they turned out well.
3 large potatoes
2 large leeks (white and light green parts only)
1 quart vegetable stock
1 8 oz tub of creme fraiche, sour cream or plain yogurt
salt, pepper, and green herbs to taste
The main ingredients are three large potatoes (or an equivalent weight of smaller spuds), and a couple of good-sized leeks. I used California Russets for this batch, but I've used Idahos, Yukon Golds and even small red new potatoes.
If you like a white soup for presentation, you can peel the potatoes, but I prefer to keep the skins on and just scrub the tubers clean. You keep more vitamins and I think the final soup tastes better.
Cut up your potatoes into approximately 16 chunks per (slice lenghtwise once, roll 90 degrees, slice again and make three cuts perpendicular to the first two cuts to do this quickly). Keep the chunks about equal size. The shape doesn't really matter, since we'll blend this soup, but you ensure even cooking by keeping the sizes roughly the same.
Next, trim the leeks and slice them lengthwise. Run them under cold water to rinse out any sand or dirt that might have migrated into the leek itself. Then, slice the leeks into equal sized semi-rings (about 1/5" or about a half of a centimeter wide).
Pile all this into a stock pot...
...and pour in one quart of vegetable stock. Make your own or buy good quality low sodium stuff.
Add cold water to the pot until things are just a bit loose and some of the leeks are floating.
Now, add salt, pepper and herbs to taste. I like a bit of dried taragon and Italian parsley in my soup, but just about any green herb will work. This is a lot of soup, so be generous with the herbs and pepper and judicious with the salt.
Put the pot on high until it boils, then reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are meltingly soft.
If you had very starchy potatoes or not enough water and the soup is thick muck, simply add a little more water and heat through.
Time for the powertools: Use a food processor to blend the soup, or if you have an immersion blender (one of those propellers on a sitck) blend the soup in the pot. I use an immersion blender myself. Leave the soup a little chunky for a better mouth feel.
Once that's done, you get to add the creamy bit. Use a small tub (8 oz.) of either sour cream, yogurt, or best choice of all, creme fraiche. I use creme fraiche usually, but this last batch I used sour cream since the only creme fraiche at the market was $7.99 for 8 oz.
Stir together, taste for seasoning and adjust. If soup has reduced too far in temperature, reheat just until warm and serve with a parsley garnish and a slice or two of hearty wheat bread.
Makes soup for four to six hungry adults or soup for two and leftovers that freeze well and reheat in the microwave just fine.