It’s winter here & oh boy has it been chilly, well chilly for us Aucklanders. We’re not so hardy & any days that don’t reach double digits are deemed freezing & this week we have been down to 2s, 3s & 4s! Chilly indeed but a great excuse to rug up with jumpers, scarves & gloves.
The cold weather & a bunch of leeks led to this soup & warming me up over a few lunches this past week.
Good fresh leeks will have bright white root & dirt attached, they should after all just have come out the ground! Cut off the the roots & just give the leeks a good wash to get rid of any sand & dirt. Don’t throw the roots way, add them to some stock & they’ll in turn add some flavour.
Friends of the leek: butter, olive oil, cream, creme fraiche, Parmesan, goat cheese, Gruyere, cheddar, eggs, capers, olives, mustard, lemon, thyme, parsley, potatoes, fennel.
Leek & Potato Soup
Based on Heston’s with slightly less exactness with the measurements it’s soup after all! Plus I think his leeks must be way smaller than ours here in NZ! He suggest 750g is approx. 15 leeks! Here 15 leeks would be a proverbial leek mountain & more in the vicinity of 2-3 kgs of leeks!!
My new favourite gadget is my mandolin. If you have one use it to speedily & perfectly thinly slice those potatoes, onions & leeks. Just be careful of fingers!
2 medium waxy potatoes, peeled & finely sliced*
120g unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely sliced
4 leeks, washed to remove any dirt & thinly sliced
1 bouquet garnet**
1 ltr vegetable or chicken stock, homemade or good quality low sodium store bought stock
100 ml double cream
50 ml trim / semi-skimmed milk
Chives & creme fraiche to serve
*Rinse the potatoes under cold water to remove the starch & you’ll avoid gluggy gluey soup.
**Bouquet garnet; a few sprigs of thyme, celery leaves & parsley tied together with a strip of leak or some kitchen string. (Just not blue string a la Bridget Jones if you wish to avoid bright blue soup!)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan & add the potatoes & onions. Sweat them over a medium high heat for 10 minutes. Add the leek* & cook for 5 minutes more.
Add the bouquet garnet & the warmed stock, bring to the boil & reduce to a simmer. Add the cream & the milk & simmer for 10 minutes more until the potatoes are tender.
Remove the bouquet garnet & liquidize the soup in a blender or with a hand blender. If you want super super smooth soup you can then pass the soup through a very fine sieve. If the soup is too thick just add a little more stock. Taste & season with salt & taste until you have it as you like it. I found it took a good few pinches of salt, but then I love salt!
*Heston’s tip: the leeks add the flavour to this soup but if you cook them for longer then 10 minutes they will lose colour & flavour. So slice them as thinly as possible to cook them as quickly as possible to hold on to all that flavour.
Pour in to bowls, add a dollop of creme fraiche & scatter over a few chopped chives & serve. Crusty bread slathered in butter on the side would not go amiss.
This feels like quite a decadent soup, the cream just adding a wonderful level of velvety silky luxuriousness. It’s a bowl of indulgence, yet packed with vegetables & perfect for warming you on a particularly chilly Winter’s day.