The Soup Kid

For the love of soup

Potato and Leek Soup

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Potato and Leek soup is simple and delicious. There is plenty of opportunity for exotic variations, but there’s also something to be said for simplicity. Here I’ll be cooking Mark Bittman’s most basic Potato and Leek soup recipe – one that Bittman1 writes “strikes me as medieval.” That makes me happy, and so did the final product.

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Veggies for the stock (minus the leeks)

Making Potato and Leek Soup is just about as easy as it gets if you’re starting with a store-bought vegetable stock.  Making your own stock from scratch is a lot tastier though and very easy to do.  To start, put the oil in a deep skillet or broad saucepan or casserole over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the carrots, onion, potato, celery, garlic, and mushrooms.  Cook without stirring for about 5 minutes, then stir once or twice and cook until teh vegetables begin to brown.  (If you have more time, brown them well, stirring only infrequently.)

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Stir infrequently, browning to add flavor

Next, add the parsley, 6 cups water, the soy sauce, and some pepper.  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily but gently.  Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. (Longer is better if you have the time.)

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Soup? Nope, just stock.

For me, the big question here is what to do with all the vegetables we just boiled to death.  Sure, most of the flavor just went into the stock, but the veggies don’t taste all that bad.  I spoiled my appetite chowing down on them while finishing the soup, but I’m curious what other people do with the leftover vegetables from their stocks.

Anyway, after straining the veggies from the broth, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy sauce or a bit of salt.  Once satisfied, you’re stock is good to go in a soup or store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. we’re left with this beautiful pot of stock:

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Make and freeze large batches of stock to save yourself loads of time

Now we’re ready to move on to the steps for the Potato and Leek Soup itself.  Put the butter or oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole over medium heat. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, add your potatoes and leeks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes.

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Leeks could be sliced thinner. I blame the government…

Now add the stock to the pot with your potatoes and leeks and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.

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Let’s get tender up in this pot…

Now simply adjust the seasoning to your liking and serve.

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Peasant food? Fine by me.

Leek-and-Potato Soup may not look like much, but it tastes chock full of feudal goodness and is a quick fix if you have vegetable stock at the ready.  Plus, its easy to make a number of more exotic variants starting from this one basic recipe.  Look for more of those in posts to come.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium potatoes, any type, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed and sliced into thin rings
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or water, preferably warmed

Vegetable Stock Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered (don’t bother to peel)
  • 1 potato, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic (don’t bother to peel)
  • 5 to 10 white mushrooms, halved or sliced
  • 10 to 20 parsley stems or stems with leaves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Notes
  1. Props to Mark and his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian for the recipe. []