Looking back, it’s pretty impressive how much my palette has expanded in the past decade, but especially the last 4 or 5 years. When I began to cook for myself the summer after sophomore year, my diet consisted heavily of peppers, onions, chicken, and pasta. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; even now sometimes I’ll start sauteeing an onion before knowing what I’m making, I just know I want it to have onion. But in these food adventures I had never before cooked with a leek.
For those of you that have, you can probably figure out what I did by looking at the color of this soup. I failed to understand that when the recipe said to cut off the green “tops” of the leek that mean essentially discarding about 3/4 of the entire root. Instead, I just lopped off the top inch and went on my merry way. This resulted in an unexpectedly green, but still very delicious, soup.
The temperature didn’t get above 20 for a few days, so it was a weekend full of soups and stews. In addition to this we also made chicken chili (with cornbread) and a sausage lentil stew. I had this bowl of soup with a slice of leftover struan bread, and the Tartine country bread I used to mop it up later in the week did a fine job too.
The other problem with the onset of winter is less daylight. Not because it’s dark when I go to and leave work (though it is), but because it gives me a very small window over the weekend in which I can take good pictures! Our kitchen is on the other end of our apartment from the window, and I find it difficult to make anything look appetizing under the orange-yellowish lights of the kitchen.
As I right this it is dark and snowy, and I have bread rising under a makeshift proofing box. With it getting so cold I’ve started proofing bread under a lamp to help keep the temperature up. Many people simple put their dough in the oven with the light on, but our oven doesn’t have a light, so this is my solution.
If you’re somewhere where it’s as cold as here this soup is sure to warm you up, whether you properly chop the leeks or not. Enjoy!
Potato Leek Soup
- 2 onions
- 3 pounds potatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 leeks
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
Chop off the dark green tops of the leeks and discard. Chop up the remaining white and light green parts and place in a bowl of water. Rinse lightly and allow the dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Drain and rinse the leeks once more and set aside. Dice the onion and peel the potatoes, chopping them into small pieces (about 1/2 inch square)
Melt butter in a large pot on medium head and sauté onions for 5 minutes. Add leeks and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes while stirring. Next add the water, salt, pepper and bring to a boil. Turn down slightly and cook on a low boil for about 40 minutes, covered halfway with a lid. After 40 minutes check to see if the potatoes are tender. If not, cook until done.
Once the potatoes are done remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor, but be careful!). Add cream and add extra salt if needed. Add more water if too thick, or cook off some of the liquid (or add more cream!) if necessary.
Recipe adapted from 30 Pounds of Apples.