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Potato and Leek Soup

Friday, February 12, 2016

[Recipe serves 6 to 8].

Although I'm always ready for winter to be over and spring to get here, I figured I should accept the fact that it's here for another month or two and make a nice winter soup.  I decided on a potato-based soup, but wanted to shy away from the typical 'loaded-baked potato soup'.  Although it is delicious and comforting on a cold day, I subconsciously group it into the "safe soup" cooking category.  Rather, I wanted potatoes to shine through and be the base of the soup rather than a last minute addition.  By pureéing them with leeks and onions and combining them with more sophisticated flavors, I ended up with something quite a bit healthier and elegant.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons white truffle oil (or olive oil)
1 white onion, diced
3 leeks, ends trimmed, halved, and cleaned well in cold water
4 celery stalks, diced
2 bay leaves

2 garlic cloves, rough chop
3 quarts (12 cups) cold water
3 pounds (~4 large) russet potatoes, peeled and 1/2" diced
2 tablespoons low-sodium vegetable base
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried thyme

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Optional garnishes:  Parmesan crisps, bacon bits, chives, truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the oil and vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are softened and just starting to get color, roughly 15 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding the water, and then add the potatoes, vegetable base, celery seed, and thyme.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Near the end of the 45 minutes, melt the butter in a small sauté pan and then whisk in the flour for one minute.  Reserve.

When the soup is ready, pureé using an immersion blender.  Pass the soup through a fine-meshed sieve with a ladle (and additionally through a chinois if available).  Return the soup to a medium heat and whisk in the roux (butter and flour mixture).  Add the Worcestershire, sour cream, heavy cream, steak seasoning, Dijon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  [Side note:  Since we're making a large batch that uses a low-sodium base, don't be surprised if it takes a little more salt than you might initially expect].

Serve and garnish with Parmesan, bacon, chives, and/or additional truffle oil.

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