Monday, March 14, 2011

Potato and Leek Soup

My brother and I with Papap - taking a break from his beloved garden.

I'll always think of my grandfather when I make potato soup, for it was his specialty.  Sadly, I don't have a copy of his recipe, but the ingredients vary little from recipe to recipe.  My grandfather was never one to skimp on fat, believing that everything, tasted just that much better, with a few more calories.  Papap probably used heavy cream in his soup, but I'll stick to the less fatty, half and half (you may choose to eliminate the half and half, for an even healthier version).

4 tablespoon butter
2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 pound leeks (white and pale green part only), washed and sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken stock (water may be substituted, but the soup will be a bit less flavorful)
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
chopped chives (optional)

In a large soup pot, melt butter.  Add carrots, leeks and celery, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the broth (or water), bay leaf, about one teaspoon of salt, and the potatoes (make sure there is enough liquid to fully cover).  Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 30 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf and let the soup cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and process in batches, until smooth (Pap did this by hand - it's much easier with a food processor :)

When ready to eat, heat the pureed soup over medium heat. Thin with milk, until the soup is the desired consistency.  Ladle into individual bowls, and swirl one tablespoon half and half into each serving.  Sprinkle with pepper, and serve.  For a bit of added color, top with a scattering of chopped chives. Wonderfully delicious!

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