One easy way to switch up a favourite soup is simply to change its texture. For many years I’ve been making a thick and hearty leek and potato chowder. Last week, I wanted to switch it up make it more palatable for one of my daughters who prefers her soups smooth.
Serendipitously (now there’s a word I like), I also discovered this more lah-di-dah version is better suited to the first course of a dinner party. Who wouldn’t want to start their meal with a little bowl of steaming green loveliness, redolent with the delicate flavour and aroma of leeks? If you haven’t tried this under-utilized member of the allium family, you really must, if only to see what I’m talking about. And while you definitely can’t stand your spoon up in a bowl of this soup, it still has a lot of body to it.
You can use whole milk or perhaps even cream, but I’ve always used either two percent or skim. A non-dairy milk would also work, but be sure it’s not flavoured. Like most soups, you can make this one a day ahead, which is especially handy if you’re cooking for guests.
Leek and potato soup is a winner on three counts: simplicity, elegance, satisfaction. As an added bonus, my daughter also appreciates the absence of loathsome chunkiness.
Leek and Potato Soup
For a vegan version, use vegetable stock and non-dairy milk.
Preparation time: 20 minutes; Cooking Time: 35 minutes; Servings: six to eight
- 2 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 3 lbs leeks, diced (see instructions below)
- 2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups 2% or skim milk
Trim the root end of the leeks and as much of the dark green top as looks tough. Cut in half horizontally, then slice along the length. You will see that the leek is composed of interlocking rings. Spread these open a bit and run under cold water to rinse out any dirt that’s trapped inside. Lay the leek pieces flat side down, and cut into two or three strips lengthwise depending on the size. Slice thinly. Rinse well in a colander and shake to drain.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the leeks and stir well. Cook down for about five minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the potatoes, pepper and salt and incorporate.
Pour in the stock and stir. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to simmer and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Using an immersion blender, thoroughly puree the soup until velvety smooth. Add the milk and gently combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.