Monday, November 3, 2014

Potato Leek Soup

As we have previously established, Fall is here! Time for delicious dishes that warm the belly and the soul. One of my favorite soups is potato leek. There's a pub here in Las Vegas that used to serve the most amazing potato leek soup with Irish soda bread. I would visit with my friends at least once a month and no matter what I ordered, it was always with a side cup of potato leek soup. That pub has since become completely homogenized; their menu filled with more generic fare...stale, boring...more cheeseburgers, less authentic cooking and that soup, a wistful memory. Well...a memory until I decided to just re-create the stuff myself! The results took me right back to that dimly lit pub, the music and best of all, the memories of hanging out with my friends, drinking Guinness and having a laugh. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!


4 Cups Yellow Potatoes (peeled & cubed)
3 Leeks (cleaned and finely chopped)
1/2 White Onion (finely diced)
4 Tbs Butter
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Milk
2 Cups Half & Half
2 Tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 Tsp Ground Pepper
Crumbled Bacon & Parsley to garnish

Recommended extra equipment: Immersion blender.  Immersion blenders are not very expensive and come in extremely handy in the kitchen when making soups, sauces or even if you want to make a quick smoothie or shake without getting out a full-sized blender. They are also easy to use and easy to clean. You can get a good one for around $35. Trust me, it's worth it!

Step One: Prep your veggies! Peel your potatoes and dice them into small cubes. I recommend yellow potatoes because they have a delicious, naturally buttery flavor. They just make better soup. Period. Peel and finely dice your onion. The smaller the pieces, the better. Most importantly, when you're prepping your leeks, peel them apart and wash them throughly! Leeks are layered and lots of dirt likes to hide in those layers. If your leaks aren't clean, you might as well just be making dirt soup. Because the flavor will say the least.

* If you're garnishing with crumbled bacon, don't forget to cook it! Or you can just cheat and use bacon bits.

Step Two: Sauté your onion & leeks! In a skillet, add two tablespoons butter, pinch of salt and sauté leeks until tender (about 5-6 minutes). In a large, deep pot, add 2 tablespoons of butter, pinch of salt and diced onion. Sauté until slightly transparent and tender (about 5 minutes).

Step Three: Add potatoes to onions! Allow the potatoes to cook with the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Four: Add leeks & water to onions and potatoes! Add cooked leeks and two cups of water. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until potatoes are completely tender.

Step Five: In a separate pot, combine milk and half & half and heat to a slow boil. Stir frequently and be very careful not to scorch the milk mixture.

Step Six: Using an immersion blender, blend the cooked potatoes, onion and leeks until smooth.

Step Seven: Add hot milk and half & half to blended potatoes & leeks. Mix together completely and add remaining salt and pepper. Simmer, UNCOVERED, for about 30 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. I stress "uncovered" because if you cover the soup, the heat combined with the cream could cause it to bubble up and overflow like a volcano of deliciousness. And that is NO FUN to clean off your stove...learn from my mistakes, kids.

Serve it up hot and top it with parsley and bacon! It's delicious with your favorite crusty bread, Irish soda bread or (if you're feeling sassy) a fresh baked soft buttermilk pretzel (recipe coming later this week)!

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