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potato leek soup

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This soup is great in the Autumn when leeks are in season. I’m sure you can still find them in the grocery store since produce is now season-less, but they may be costly. Are you wondering why I would cook and post an Autumn soup in May? Well, I came into some free leeks and had some leftover potatoes from a gratin. My dad was tilling the garden getting it ready for planting and lo and behold there were some leeks buried in the dirt from last year’s crop and they were still fresh and ready to eat. 

I’ve been making this soup for years and love it. The original recipe is actually, leek potato mushroom cheddar soup. I didn’t have any mushrooms and cut used the cheese as a topping instead. I will note these additions at the bottom of the post, the full recipe is amazingly delicious.

Leeks are in the onion family. They are very mild in flavor and look like a giant green onion. The white and light green sections are what you use to cook with. Leeks are known to be full of dirt and sand from growing up through the soil so be sure to clean them thoroughly. I hope you try this soup now or this Fall, it is really warming on a cold day. Even though it is May, it currently feels like October and this soup warmed me up.

Potato Leek Soup

2 medium leeks
3-4 potatoes, depending on size (I used Yukon gold)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbs flour
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
3 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
salt and pepper
celery salt (optional)
grated cheddar cheese

If your leeks still have the darker green stalk, chop off and discard leaving the light green and white portions. Cut leeks in half length wise and rinse all the layers under water while still keeping the leek intact. If you are using larger leeks cut into quarters.  Chop leeks into half-moons about 1/4 inch thick and set aside. Dice up your potatoes; the smaller they are diced the quicker they will cook. 

In a large pot, heat up the butter and olive oil over medium heat, add in leeks, potatoes and chopped garlic and cook until leeks start to soften, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir often, but don’t let the potatoes brown. In a seperate bowl combine the ground mustard, onion powder, flour and celery salt into a bowl, stir to mix up. Whisk in the water and half the stock and add to leek potato mix. Add the rest of the stock and the bay leaf. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30-60 minutes, depending on the size of your diced potatoes. (I put a lid on mine soup pot.)

When done simmering, remove the bay leaf and mash the soup with a potato masher leaving the potatoes lumping, just break them down. It isn’t necessary to mash all the potatoes either. I used my potato masher shown below.

Add your salt and pepper and taste for seasonings. Add more if you like or add other seasonings you have that might taste good with this soup. I think bacon would be a great addition to this soup also. I sprinkled the cheese over the soup after I served it in the bowl and added some chips I had for crunch.

To add the mushroom and cheese to soup do the following; saute sliced mushrooms (about 4-5) in butter, once softened add to soup along with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and a handful of parmesan. To make this soup more creamy you can also add 1 cup of milk. I omit the milk because I think the soup is creamy enough with semi-mashed potatoes.

*Use vegetable stock to ensure a vegetarian soup or double the olive oil or use vegan butter to make it vegan.

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