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Loaded Potato Leek Soup

May 18, 2010

Spring time is in full swing, which can only mean on thing – fresh, seasonal vegetables are beginning to appear.   One of my favorite springtime veggies is the wild-looking leek.  I only discovered leeks a few years ago, but my life has been forever changed. They are so large that I have to devote a considerable amount of space in the refrigerator for storage and they can be tricky to clean, but the payoff is worth it.  Most people will describe the flavor of a leek as  “mildly onion-like” but I feel leeks have so much more to contribute.  They are lovely sauteed in butter as a side dish or for the base of a soup, which is where this Chicken Monday takes its journey.

When I first set out to find a leek soup recipe, I found very often that the ingredients usually also contained potatoes.  For me this is a win-win because, quite frankly, I never met a potato that I didn’t like.  The soup recipe that I first tried involved not one, but two whole sticks of butter to saute the leeks.   The reviews all cautioned to knock that amount of butter in half, which I wisely followed.  To add insult to your already injured arteries, the recipe also added cream to help thicken the soup.  The end result was a creamy, buttery mess that masked the taste of my precious leeks.   I have been working on my own version and have finally come up with a more balanced recipe that is thick, chunky and delicious, as well as a little more health conscious.  Where is the chicken, might you ask?  Chicken stock rounds out this recipe, making it appropriate for a Monday night feast.

Loaded Potato Leek Soup

4 Tbsp. Butter

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Large Whole  Leek, cut lengthwise and sliced into half-moons

1-2 Stalks Celery, thinly sliced

4-6 Medium Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

4 Cups Chicken Stock

1/2 tsp. Ground Red Pepper (Paprika or Cayenne, depending on your palate)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Garnish: Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Crumbled Bacon

1.) Melt the butter and olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  (The olive oil will heat quickly, so keep watch that your butter does not brown) Cut the leek and place in a large bowl of cold water.  Swish vigorously to remove grit.  Remove cleaned leeks from water and carefully add to the heated butter and oil.  Add celery.  Saute until tender.

2.)  Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes.  Add potatoes, chicken stock and seasonings to the pot.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

3.) Add approximately half of the soup, in small batches to a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth and creamy.  Return pureed mixture to remaining soup.  Stir until well mixed.

4.) Serve soup piping hot and garnish as desired.

This recipe has very few ingredients, but works out to be very yummy with the garnishes. The pureed starchy potatoes make the soup rich and smooth without the addition of cream. The cheese and bacon add just the right amount of richness and salt.   If you wanted to add more depth of flavor to the soup, you could add other cubed root vegetables when you added the potatoes, such as butternut squash, parsnips or even sweet potatoes.  A splash of white wine or sherry would also be a sophisticated addition.

I served the soup with hot, buttered corn muffins.  Garlic bread would also work well alongside this dish.  You need to have something to clean the bowl when you are finished spooning up your soup!

Lovely Leeks. Photo Credit: http://grubchico.org/csa/newsletter/3


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Andrew Lubchansky permalink
    May 18, 2010 3:13 pm

    This is one of my favorite soups to have and this one definitely raised the bar! This version was very yummy and had great consistency. Smooth yet chunky at the same time. This one is a keeper.

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