Saturday, April 28, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup

I love leeks. They're a milder cousin of the onion. This is primarily a lighter potato soup, with the leeks singing backup, and a slight smoky flavor from some bacon. Even onion haters will probably enjoy this one.

With leeks you only eat the white and light green parts. The darker green leaves are usually too tough to eat, but they make excellent packaging for a bouquet garni, which is what this recipe calls for. Just save two of the bigger leaves, lay the whole seasonings in one leaf, put the other on top, and tie with string, like so:
Learn from Bridget Jones's Diary and don't use rubber bands or dyed string. If you plan a little better than me, you'll have cooking twine on hand. Otherwise some plain cotton string will do in a pinch. Seriously, tying the string is the hardest part of this recipe, then it's all smooth sailing. You saute a little bacon with butter until most of the fat renders, and go from there.
Emeril serves his soup with snipped chives, but I hate buying an extra ingredient just for a couple tablespoons of garnish. It's great with crackers and I could see going the loaded baked potato route and adding cheese, bacon, or green onion on top too. 
Potato and Leek Soup
Serves 6
Adapted slightly from Emeril Lagasse
Cooking Time: 60 minutes (30 active)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped

3 small leeks (about 1 pound)

2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 sprigs thyme

1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
salt, to taste (with low sodium stock you'll probably want 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. Cut the dark green tops and roots off the leeks. Slice the edible part lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to get rid of any dirt, then slice thinly. Reserve two of the larger dark green leaves for a bouquet garni.

2. To make the bouquet garni, put the thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaves in one of the leaves, and put the other leaf on top. Tie with cooking twine.

3. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the bacon. Saute for a few minutes until most of the fat has rendered from the bacon.

4. Add the leeks and saute until they're very soft, about 5 minutes.

5.  Add the wine and bring to a boil.

6. Add the bouquet garni, stock, potatoes, salt, and white pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked and falling apart.

7.  Puree with an immersion blender.

8. Stir in the cream and serve!

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