I am almost giddy to be able to welcome you to 2018! Why? Well, as some of you might have discovered, sometime between my last post of 2017 (on Dec 28th) and the first of the year, it appears my site was hacked by someone trying to sell HVAC products overseas. Go figure. I have to give kudos here to WordPress for working with me to get things up and running and safe again.
So, how are we starting 2018 here at The Bistro? With one of the great food trends of 2018, of course – soup. I have to admit, when it comes to soup, I was soup savvy before soup was cool.
Today’s soup is real comfort food. Give it to an ailing friend or family member and they will swear you are Florence Nightingale. Besides that, the taste is just plain awesome.
I call this soup “home-style” because the texture is slightly smooth and creamy, but also hearty with some chunks of potatoes left to sink your teeth into.
If your afraid of leeks, don’t be. I had never used leeks before thinking they would be difficult, but they’re really not. Leeks are in the same family as onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions.
The taste of leeks is mild and a combination of garlic and onion. It’s a vegetable with historical significance and is even mentioned in the Bible.
The thing that tends to intimidate people about leeks is the cleaning process. Believe me, it’s not that bad. I’m providing a good YouTube video that demonstrates how to do it. After trimming mine, I use the half moon technique, then rinse mine 2 or 3 times and blot very well with paper towels to make sure they are dry before I start cooking.
Now, let’s take a look at this scrumptious recipe. We’ve already made about 3 pots of this and shared with my folks.
Home-style Leek and Potato Soup
3 leeks, white and light green portion only
7 – 1/2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes
3 stalks heart of celery, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 – 1/2 cups water
2 -1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 – 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 -1/4 cups half and half
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
1. Cut and remove the dark portion of leeks. Cut and remove the root section, also. (We add these parts to our compost.) Next, cut each leek in half lengthwise and then slice each half making small slices about 1/8 inch thick that will resemble semi-circles or half moons.
2. Place sliced leeks in a large bowl and begin rinsing with cold water to remove any grit, dirt or sand. Drain and repeat 2 or 3 times. Drain well, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
3. Peel and cube potatoes. Place cubed potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from discoloring while you begin to prepare the soup.
4. Mince the garlic and shallot. Chop the celery hearts. Set aside.
5. In a large stockpot melt butter on medium high heat and add the tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine. Add the leeks and reduce heat slightly and begin sweating leeks. YOU DO NOT WANT THEM TO BURN. Stir and cook 10 to 15 minutes. You will begin to see the leeks reduce in size.
6. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, the minced garlic, minced shallot and chopped celery hearts. Continue cooking another 10 to 15 minutes or until leeks are almost caramelized.
7. Add the low sodium chicken broth, water, potatoes, remaining kosher salt, ground black pepper, and dried thyme. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
8. While potatoes are cooking whisk together the half and half and the low-fat sour cream. Set aside.
9. When potatoes are done, use an immersion blender (stick blender) to slightly process the soup to a semi cream appearance. Be mindful to not process all the soup. Leave some potatoes whole for a chunky texture. (If you don’t have a stick blender, you can remove some of the soup from the pot and process it in a food processor or blender, then return it to the stockpot and stir.
10. Finally, temper the sour cream/half and half mixture with liquid from the soup. Add a little to the sour cream/half and half mixture and mix. Do this several times. This will prevent the dairy products from separating when they’re added to hot ingredients. Once tempered, pour the half and half mixture into the pot, stir and heat through.
*We serve with a whole grain baguette, etc.
© 2018 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.