Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leek and Potato soup

Okay, figured I should post this before winter is completely gone.

One of my faaavorite soups of all time is leek and potato. It's a good, hearty winter soup, and it's ridiculously easy to prepare.

Possibly the most complicated part is cleaning the leeks. Leeks are like... giant green onions? That's how I think of them. Except they are sweet and have a very mild onion flavor, which makes them great for soup. Look for ones with a large white portion, and a shorter green portion. Their stalks are prone to having mud and dirt getting stuck between the layers, so you need to cut off the tough green part at the top, the scraggly bit of the bulb at the bottom, and then split the leeks in half lengthwise. Like so:

Then rinse out the insides thoroughly. I run the leek halves under the tap and rub my thumbnail over them, flipping them like a pack of cards.

The rest of the recipe is super easy. Chop up the onion into a small dice and the leeks into strips. Good opportunity to practice your knife skills - which is probably why so many cooking courses start with soups. A lot of knife work!

Melt down a couple of tablespoons of butter in a big pot. Toss in the onions and leeks.

Slice the potatoes. You don't even have to peel them! Just wash them and scrape off any blemishes. Once the onions and leeks are pretty much cooked, and soft, toss the potatoes on top.

Okay, my pot was slightly too small for this, but it still worked out fine.

Cover all that with vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if you like), and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft. Then, use a potato masher, and just mash the potatoes. Yes, inside the soup. Mash them until you have a consistency you like - you can go chunky or completely smooth, up to you. Then stir in a cup of cream and salt and pepper to taste.

And that's all. It's delicious and easy, trust me.

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