Potato Leek Soup

What a chilly spring! Cold nights and days mean my tummy craves warm comforting soup.  This leek potato soup fits the bill and then some.   It is also known as vichyssoise: the fancy French name for pureed leek and soup. My mom used to make it when I was a kid, in the summer she served it chilled and in the winter it is perfect hot from the pot. Both versions are awesome.

I love to make this recipe as it gives me the opportunity to yank out my boat motor blender and let it go!  It is a small, hand held immersion blender that is fun and effective although it often leaves a few chunks of potato and leek in my soup which I kinda like.

I used half and half to make it creamy.  The original recipe uses heavy cream but I wanted to lighten the fat load, sometimes I use plain whole milk.  I have a friend who makes it with nonfat milk, in my mind that is going a tad too far in that austere direction.  Don’t use less than 2 percent if you want a rich creamy texture and great mouth feel. You could mix some cream and some milk.  Whatever works for you or is in the fridge!  Note: if your chicken broth is unseasoned you will  need to add salt for sure; taste and add as much as you desire; I have added salt as an ingredient for that reason.  If you use broth containing salt taste before adding any additional salt.

You can guild the lily by sprinkling this with chopped fresh chives, nice but not necessary.

 

Mom’s Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, diced small

3 leeks; white and pale green parts only, chopped into small rounds

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3-4 cups chicken broth

¾ cup half and half

¼ tsp. mace or nutmeg

1-2 tsp. sea salt to taste: depends on salt level in chicken broth used

Directions

I use my heavy bottomed small soup pot.  Heat the butter, add the onion bits and leek slices. Cook 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups gluten free chicken broth.  I really prefer Kitchen Basics; says GF on box and tastes great.  Heat to boiling, add the diced up potatoes, cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are done.  Add more broth if it seems low in liquid.  I add up to 4 cups broth and then I add water to thin it further if needed.  I usually poke the potatoes with a fork to check for almost falling apart status.  Turn off and let stand 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. Can also use a blender or a food processor for this action but in any case, be very careful not to burn yourself with a splash of hot soup. Add half and half, half the salt and the mace.  Blend them in until it is smooth. Add more salt if you desire.  White pepper is good as a seasoning too.  Great hot or well chilled once we reach that lovely season of summer heat that makes a chilled soup seem fabulous.  Right now, it is practically the last thing I want to eat.

Anyway, enjoy it hot or cold.  This recipe is an adaption from The Joy of Cooking, a handy resource volume for classic recipes like this one.  Great taste never goes out of style.

Originally posted March 2015.  Slightly revised.

Leeks, Bacon, Creamy Sauce = Yummy

Lots of you probably have never ever eaten a leek.  You might not know what the heck it is.  Imagine an overgrown scallion with a mellow onion flavor.  It is a member of the allium family: more information can be found at this site: http://www.culinate.com/articles/culinate8/meet_the_alliums. Sold mostly in the fall and winter – as it takes a long time to grow one.  So now is the perfect time to try this great recipe which is built around the humble leek.  Generally the deep green leafy portions of a leek are not used.  I use the white and the lighter green. Leeks can be sandy or grimy; careful cleaning is critical. I rinse them a lot as I cut and pull off outer leaves. Cut off the root remnant and then slice into 1/3 inch slices. Discard the outer deep green leaves.  They are too tough and don’t have great flavor anyway.  I try to grow leeks but not too successfully as they seem rather too needy: long growing season, rich soil and lots of water all much required.  Buy them at a farm stand if possible; freshest source and probably cheaper. This recipe is the perfect way to introduce yourself to leeks; they will melt in your mouth and match perfectly with the creamy sauce and the bacon.

Anyway, enough of the wonder of leeks: this is a pasta sauce recipe too! Yes, the leeks are the predominant flavor but another major flavor is the Canadian bacon, you can use ham, prosciutto or thick cut bacon. I love it just as I made it with Canadian bacon; great flavor, easy to cut into strips and less fat than other choices.  Plus it was the only gluten free hammy choice I could find that day.  A lot of ham sold has gluten – used in the spices or the added liquids.  Annoying to have to read the labels of something you might think was naturally safe for celiacs like me.

I used penne as I was serving it to an elderly lady who couldn’t manage linguine or fettuccini as the original recipe suggested. Use whatever pasta floats your boat; the peas were cute as they stuck inside the pasta tubes so I think it worked great.  If you are not needing to eat gluten free use your favorite pasta by all means.

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Best quality Parmesan means it is a chunk you have to grate fresh; small grater side.  Jarred grated cheese will not do, this recipe depends on high quality ingredients to show off the delicate flavors it is chock full of. If you are a shroom hater; by all means leave them out but I loved the earthy meaty flavor contrasting against the cream and leeks. Can you tell I adore this dish? It is going to be a favorite of mine for sure.  The original recipe came from Epicurious but I jiggered it a bit with the peas and mushrooms and subbed in Canadian bacon for more fatty traditional bacon.

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Angie’s Leek and Bacon Sauce with Pasta

Ingredients

3 tbsp. EVOL

2 tbsp. butter

3 leeks cut crosswise into 1/3 inch rounds; white and pale green only

1 8 ounce package Canadian bacon cut across into 1/3 inch wide strips

6-8 oz fresh mushrooms sliced (not too thin)

¾ to 1 cup frozen tiny peas

2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves pulled off stems

¾ cup heavy cream

1 box gf penne or linguine (12 ounces)

¾ to 1 cup just finely grated good quality Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Start a big pot of water to boil for pasta, add salt.

Melt 1 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. EVOL, add the leeks, saute slowly until soft; may take 10 plus minutes. It should practically melt in your mouth. Set aside; can put them in a container and store in fridge a day or two.  If making dish right away, in a clean pan add rest of EVOL and rest of butter.  Add sliced mushrooms and saute until cooked fully, 5-8 minutes.  While that cooks make the pasta in that pot of boiling salted water.  Do not overcook; try to time it so it gets done when you add the peas to the dish. Reserve a cup of the pasta water for thinning the sauce. Add bacon, stir a couple minutes.  Add the peas and thyme. Stir well.  Add the cream, stir and when it is warm but not boiling add the leeks and the cooked pasta.  Stir well, add some of the pasta water, stir more to blend. Add enough water to make the sauce the thickness you desire; I didn’t need more than half the water but you know how you like your sauce. Taste and make sure your peas are done then add three fourths of the Parmesan cheese.  Serve the rest of the cheese to sprinkle on top.  Dive into leek and bacon loveliness!

Another Storm, Another Soup Potato Leek to the Rescue

What a wicked nasty winter….speaking objectively… I keep posting soup ‘cause it keeps snowing! Cold winter nights and days mean my tummy craves thick comforting soup.  Satisfying and filling after a harrowing drive home from work.  This leek potato soup fits the bill and then some.   It is also known as vichyssoise: the fancy French name for pureed leek and soup. My mom used to make it when I was a teen, in the summer she served it chilled and in the winter it is perfect hot from the pot. Both versions are awesome.

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I love to make this recipe as it gives me the opportunity to yank out my boat motor blender and let it go!  It is a small, hand held immersion blender that is fun and effective although it often leaves a few chunks of potato and leek in my soup which I kinda like.

This soup uses half and half to make it creamy.  The original recipe says heavy cream but I wanted to lighten the fat load and I sometimes pour in plain whole milk.  I have a friend who makes it with nonfat milk, in my mind that is going a tad too far in that austere direction.  Don’t use less than 2 percent if you want a rich creamy texture and great mouth feel. You could mix some cream and some milk.  Whatever works for you or is in the fridge!

You can guild the lily by sprinkling this with chopped fresh chives, nice but not necessary.

Mom’s Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, diced small

3 leeks; white and pale green parts only, chopped into small rounds

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3-4 cups chicken broth

¾ cup half and half

¼ tsp. mace or nutmeg

1/4-3/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions

I use my heavy bottomed small soup pot.  A heavy metal bottom helps things cook evenly and lessons the possibility of burnt soup at the bottom of the pot which is never a happy thing.

Heat the butter, add the onion bits and leek slices. Cook 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups gluten free chicken broth.  I really prefer Kitchen Basics; says GF on box and tastes great.  Heat to boiling, add the diced up potatoes, cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are done.  Add more broth if it seems low in liquid.  Pour out the half and half into a measuring cup and let it warm to room temperature while the soup cooks. I usually poke the potatoes with a fork to check for almost falling apart status.  Turn off and let stand 10 minutes.

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Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. Can also use a blender or a food processor for this action but in any case, be very careful not to burn yourself with a splash of hot soup. Add half and half, the mace and salt to your taste.  Blend them in until it is smooth.

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Great hot or well chilled once we reach that lovely season of summer heat that makes a chilled soup seem fabulous.  Right now, it is the LAST thing I want to eat…cold soup.  NOOOOOOoooo.

Anyway, enjoy it hot this chilly March.  This recipe is an adaption from The Joy of Cooking, a handy resource volume for classic recipes like this one.  Great taste never goes out of style.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup To Warm The Tummy

Blast this early winter weather.  It sure stinks unless you like to slog through cold rain or sloppy snow.  Soup is often my remedy for winter chillies.  This is a simple soup made of roasted produce thinned with chicken broth and a touch of milk.  It will warm your tummy and fill you up without too many calories.  The leek adds a slightly different flavor and the apple a touch of sweetness which I find refreshing.  This mellow winter treat is great with a salad for lunch or a sandwich.  No fuss, very little muss.  Just a short list of ingredients and a fairly simple recipe.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Butternut squash Soup

1 butternut squash

1 medium onion

1 leek

2 fat carrots

1 Rome or Gala apple (any baking apple but Granny Smith will do)

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

3-4 cups of chicken broth, preferably homemade

½-3/4 cup of half and half or whole milk, even 1 percent will work!

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Directions:

First, cut the butternut squash down the length and scoop out the seeds. No need to peel. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Cut the onion in half and likewise the apple, the leek and carrots; cut off the leek above the light green portion and core the apple halves.  Put apples cut side up.  Roast them all in a 375 degree oven until the squash is tender when poked with a fork.  About 35 to 45 minutes depending on the size of your squash.  If the other fruits and veggies are browned and done early slide them off to a plate to cool.  Caramelized is fantastic but no burnt leeks in my soup thank you!

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When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a big spoon to scoop out all the meat of it into your blender.  Add the scooped out contents of the apple halves, the garlic you have squeezed out of its skin, the carrots and leek halves.  Pour in 2-3 cups of chicken broth, blend until smooth, and add more broth until you reach a consistency you like.  Mine was kinda thick and porridgey.  If you prefer to use a food processor that will work or put the scooped out veggies into a large sauce pan and blend with your immersion (boat motor) blender.  This will not be as smooth as the blender makes it but it is more fun and less cleaning as no blender container to wash!

After the blending is done pour it into a large sauce pan and add up to ¾ of a cup of half and half or whole milk.  I used a half cup but you may like it creamier.

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Taste and add sea salt to your taste (maybe ½ a tsp) and grind in some black pepper too if you like it in your soup. Heat until not quite boiling and serve with a slice of GF toast or some GF rolls.  Perfect wintery day meal especially if you add a side salad of greens to round out lunch