After last week’s disappointing snow debacle, the weatherpeople redeemed themselves and successfully forecasted snow on Tuesday. All day I watched snow steadily fly past my window: wet flakes that melt as soon as they hit you, fast little flakes, and my favorite, those big fluffy flakes (the size of quarters!) that float up as they are falling down and never seem to reach the ground. We got a respectable amount of snow and it actually felt like a true winter day. That being said, snow days call for stomach-warming, soul-comforting foods, and this soup does just that.
Most of the soups I had while growing up were either home-made derivatives of chicken broths with asian adornments (lotus roots, winter melon, tofu skin) or cream of mushroom soup from the red labeled can. It was not until I moved here and experienced a New England winter that I realized the merit (the brilliance!) of creamy, hearty soups. Like this one. When the weather chills you to the bone, there is no vehicle of heat that can travel to the very tips of your fingers and toes (for me, always the first to get cold and last to get warm) as quickly and efficiently as a wonderful bowl of soup.
I really liked this particular soup because it was simple, creamy, and comforting. Andreas asked, “So it’s basically like mashed potato soup?” Ummm.. well… yes… yes it is!
I made a big batch over the weekend, and had enough to last me through the week as part of my lunch or mid-afternoon snack, perfect for the snowy Wednesday. Oh and did I mention I am totally smitten with croutons in soup? Move over saltines, there’s a new carb condiment in my life! The contrast of the crunchy and the creamy is so satisfying to me. Maybe a little disruptive if you are sitting in a lunch-time talk, eating your soup and crunching away happily on your croutons while someone is presenting, but whatever, he had a microphone!
Potato Leek Soup
adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network
4-5 leeks, white and pale green parts, finely sliced and rinsed free of sand
14 ounces, approximately 3 small yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small (I used 4 potatoes)
4 cup vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
1 cup heavy cream (I only used 1/2)
1 cup buttermilk (I omitted, and added a dollop of greek yogurt when to my individual servings for that bit of tang)
heavy pink of salt, plus additional for seasoning
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (i only had black)
1 tablespoon snipped chives (or green onions)
- In a large pot (6 quart saucepan) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30-40 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and puree mixture (using whatever tool you like best: immersion blender, blender, food processor. I used my food processor and had to blend in 3 batches.) until smooth or to the consistency you desire. Add more liquid (hot water, cream, stock) if a thinner consistency is desired. Add the cream and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold. I also grated a bit of parmeggiano reggiano into one of my servings of soup… omg.
Croutons here, I sprinkled a bit of gruyere cheese over the bread bits in the last 5 minutes of toasting them and it was super tasty. I also saw some recipes where you could add a dollop of sour cream, bacon bits, crispy fried shallots, etc.