This recipe is from the 2007 Food & Wine Festival recipe book “Tastefully Inspired.” While the recipe from the Ireland kiosk is technically called “Chilled Potato Leek Soup,” I’m not crazy about chilled soups, and I’m dangerously close to the very end of “soup season” here in Central Florida. This is my last hurrah to enjoy it before the humidity starts creeping up on the near-90 degree days we’re already having.
The recipe is simple, and the amount of time tending to the dish while it’s on the stove is relatively light. I’ll mention a few tips and tweaks along the way (there really weren’t many at all!). Below are all the ingredients you need to make the soup. Chopped chives are used for garnish, which I skipped, and instead topped with a bit of crumbled bacon which I had on hand. Otherwise, this is an easy and filling vegetarian soup that, despite the use of heavy cream, feels light.
The first step is to prep the vegetables. Mince two cloves of garlic.
For the leeks, chop of the dark green tops and the bottom of the white where the root is. The tops are edible, however, they are rougher and take longer to cook. The tender light green and white portions cook much quicker. If you don’t want to waste the tops, save them to use in a stock. Two thick leeks provided the one pound needed for the recipe, and I sliced them into approximately 1/2″ pieces although the recipe suggests 1″. Since I would be using an immersion blender as opposed to a countertop version, I wanted the piece to be easier for the machine to handle.
One pound of russet potatoes (in my case was about one large potato) is peeled and sliced thinly. I used a mandolin, but I probably would have been just as fast with a knife and had less to clean up. Since these are eventually getting pureed, thin slices are more important than total uniformity. They may oxidize and turn a reddish brown over the next few minutes, but this isn’t going to affect the final product. You don’t want to soak them in water (which will prevent oxidation) as it will wash away some of the starches. You want those starches to help thicken the soup.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large pot or high-sided pan. Once it’s melted, add the garlic, leeks and potatoes and sweat for about 8 minutes, while stirring occasionally until they start to soften.
Next add the 4 cups of vegetable stock (or broth), bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, and give an occasional stir. Below are the simmering veggies just before adding the 1 cup of heavy cream.
You can probably lighten the recipe in fat and calories by using milk, but you will be losing some of the thickening qualities from the cream. I will say that if you need to cut the cream to give it a try, as there is still going to be a lot of flavor in this soup! Just let me know how it turns out. 😉
Once the cream is added, simmer for another 10 minutes, then remove from heat. During this final simmer, I stirred it after about 5 minutes. This is where I stray from the recipe. Instead of letting it cool and placing the soup into a blender, I grab the immersion blender and pureed the soup right in the pot. This is also the time to add and adjust the simple seasonings of salt and pepper. I felt the soup didn’t need much salt (I maybe added a teaspoon total to the large pot), but I added a decent amount of fresh cracked black pepper. I love peppery, creamy soups.
Oh yeah, and that crumbled bacon for garnish. I’m sure the chives would have been lovely too. 🙂
Ladle into bowls, top with bacon or chives, and eat up! I thought the recipe was fantastic, and it will certainly make it into my growing library of recipes I love.
Here’s a look at the page from the 2007 Food & Wine recipe book, “Tastefully Inspired.” Also note the Cheese Crisps that are served with this dish. By all means, give them a try! I made this soup on a weeknight after work, so I was trying to keep it as simple as possible. Start to finish, you can plan on this dish taking around an hour to get it on the table. If you have some bread on hand, you can utilize it for dipping: Use it plain, turn it into garlic or even cheesy garlic bread.
I hope you give this recipe a try, whether you serve it hot or cold! We’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Also let us know if you make the Cheese Crisps alongside the soup. They are certainly still on my agenda for a later date. Enjoy!