Sunday, October 2, 2011

Potato and Leek Soup

For about a week now I've been sick with a energy-sapping, tastebud destroying, cold.  One of the worst things to someone who loves food is not being able to taste fully, and so I've desperately been trying to make myself well.  I'm thinking some old-fashioned chicken soup might be just the thing I need to make so look for that post soon (I have a quick chicken and wild rice soup that is delicious).  But before I lost my sense of taste completely I decided that since I was in need of a comforting, soul-warming soup, I'd try Julia Child's recipe for Potage Parmentier.  Since fall began I've been in the mood to delve deeper into Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and so lately it's been my nightly reading.  The first chapter is on soups, and the very first soup in the book is this potato and leek soup, and it sounded like it couldn't be easier.  Simmer some potatoes and leeks in water, then blend and add a little butter or cream for richness? That's pretty much the easiest recipe ever, and easy sounded especially good to me this week in the midst of my cold.

Potato and Leek Soup
Potage Parmentier
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Makes about 2 quarts (6 to 8 servings)

1 lb (3 to 4 cups) peeled potatoes, sliced or diced (3 to 4 cups)
1 lb leeks (3 cups), thinly sliced including the tender green; or 3 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 quarts water
1 tbsp salt
4 to 6 tbsp whipping cream; or 2 to 3 tbsp softened butter
2 to 3 tbsp parsley or chives, minced

1. Place a 3 to 4 quart saucepan, or dutch oven over medium heat and add potatoes, leeks, water, and salt. Simmer together for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
2. Mash the vegetables together with a fork, transfer to a food processor, blend (in small batches) in a blender, pass through a food mill, or blend together with a stick blender until the soup is smooth.
3. Season to taste with salt (and pepper if desired)
4. Remove the soup from the heat, and add the cream or butter just before serving. Pour into a soup tureen, or individual bowls, and garnish with the fresh herbs.

  • I used my stick blender to blend the soup and it worked perfectly to give it a beautiful, smooth consistency.  Julia Child says that she is partial to a food mill for this soup, but since I don't have a food mill, I couldn't try it her way.  
  • I was right in my assessment that this would be an easy recipe- it came together extremely quickly (other than the longish simmering time), and would be a great starter for an elegant meal, when you want it to look fancy, but don't want to cook something extremely involved.

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