Monday, March 23, 2009

Potato & Leek Soup

A new recipe for me to make. Ooooh, this one is good. We were going to our church for our weekly Lenten soup supper followed by the Stations of the Cross, so I wanted to try a new recipe for a meat-free soup to share (I left out the bacon, and it was still superb!). This is one that I've been wanting try for a while now.

I will be making it again...soon.

Here's the recipe from Emeril. I doubled the recipe, but I didn't even make modifications--besides using dried thyme instead of fresh thyme (didn't have) in the bouquet garni that I wrapped with cheesecloth. Also, I probably would have garnished the soup with chives, but my little seedlings aren't ready for me to mow and use yet.

Here's Emeril's version--unadulterated...or unLauralterated. I'm posting it on this blog because too many times I've searched again for a scrumptious online recipe I've tried only to realize it disappeared in cyberspace.)


Ingredients:

1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
2 bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons snipped chives

Directions

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)

Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.

I was planning to go the Austin-laid-back-and-carefree route by not blending the soup at the end. However, when I blended a few ladles and tried it both ways, there was no going back. The extra step is well worth the effort that brings the velvety creaminess that it becomes after it's well whirled. I'm not one for extra steps, so just go with me on this and take my word. It really makes all the difference.

It was so good that we even scored a new babysitter out of it. Really! A college girl who was at church that night said if she can have more of the soup, she'd babysit for us!

P.S. If you're wonderin'...I left the skins on the taters!

And...

I'm not one of those scoop-it-up, thick soup kinda gals. I like it to be thin enough to consider...er, soup! So add more chicken stock if you need to, and don't forget the wine!

Modification:
If you'd like to reduce the amount of lactose in the soup, substitute coconut milk instead of using creme fraiche or heavy cream.