Monday, January 3, 2011

Leek and Potato Soup and an ASPCA Donation

For Christmas, my wonderful hubby bought me Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Around My French Table. I think I've paged through it about 10 times since Christmas, and I want to make every single recipe in the book. Today I decided it was time to try one out, so I chose a simple soup recipe. According to Dorie, "Soups don't get simpler or more French than leek and potato." Amen. The best part about this one is that, while it's amazing as is, it's also a great base to add other ingredients, such as fennel (which I'm going to try next time), spinach, watercress, corn, or chicken. All I needed was a baguette and some good French wine and I could have closed my eyes and imagined we were back in Paris at a café watching the beautiful people strolling along the Rue Cler. Ah, l'amour.

Another reason I chose to make a soup recipe is to support Branny Boils Over in her Charity Souper Bowl in the month of January. Every link to a soup recipe made by a participant means she will donate $1 to the ASPCA. I'll be making a few soup recipes this month and I will also be donating to the ASPCA to help in the contribution. So, in the spirit of the Charity Souper Bowl, here is the leek and potato soup recipe, which I am dedicating to our fur babies, Gus and Joey.

Leek and Potato Soup
*From Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and white pepper (I had black and it worked just fine)
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, washed, and thinly sliced
(I only had 2 leeks, so I added 3 extra potatoes)
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
6 thyme sprigs
2 fresh sage leaves (optional)
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups whole milk
Melt the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir until they glisten with butter, then season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft but not colored. Add in potatoes and leeks.
Pour in milk and chicken broth.
Add thyme, sage, and a little more salt.
Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. As soon as the soup bubbles, reduce heat to low. Cover the pot, cracking the lid a little bit and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper.
At this point, you have a few choices: you can ladle the soup into bowls as is, or you can mash the vegetables, which is what I chose to do with an immersion blender.
Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

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