"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Rain, Rain, Go Away. Come Again on Potato and Leek Soup Day

by Julie on January 12, 2011

in Soup is Easy, Soups

bowl of potato and leek soup

Please, sir ... can I have some more?

If ever there was a perfect day for potato and leek soup, two Sundays ago was it.

Yeah, sometimes I don’t get around to blogging in a timely manner.  Is anyone reading this anyway? Didn’t think so.

But a few weeks ago when we were getting our annual total rainfall in the space of a week, one particular Sunday was indeed the quintessential soup day. Raining hard from late the night before.  Colder than it should be in Southern California, forcing us all to add another layer underneath our hoodies and dust off our Ugg boots (because God knows we weren’t venturing outside or anything.) What else would you make on such a day?

And Eeek! A bag of potatoes waiting patiently on the kitchen table. And leeks! Two bags. Two each. Green bits already chopped off. Thanks T.J’s. Obviously the soup of the day would be a  potato and leek variety.

I hesitated just a bit. I know this soup is supposed to be easy-peasy, but remember who you’re talking to here. Who the hell am I to try soups from scratch?

But then I Googled it and up pops a recipe from none other than David Lebovitz, foodie extraordinaire and Parisian ex-pat, high on the food blogger A-list.  I actually met him in person at BlogHer Food Conference, 2009, in  San Francisco. (he was friendly, and way more rangy than he looks on his blog. He didn’t mind anonymous food bloggers staggering up to him with stupid grins on their faces and nothing to say other than..”Wow. I’m a huge fan…)

I digress. His very simple recipe for his favorite potato and leek soup called for ingredients I didn’t have, such as fleur de sel de guerande, and specific potatoes you can only find in Parisian farmers markets, and penja white pepper, but whatevs. What I needed was the expert blueprint, not so much the fancy details. I figured I could go out on my own from there. I had decent potatoes. I had leeks. And I had fleur de sel de Trader Joe’s. What more did I need?

With David’s expert guidance (well, his recipe, anyway) Here’s what I did:

I washed and chopped half a 3-pound bag of gold potatoes. I left the skins on because I like the texture, and isn’t that where most of the nutrients of potatoes live? I read that somewhere. Or maybe I dreamt it…

I added a chopped onion. Again, because what could the extra flavor hurt? Hell, I threw in a minced clove or garlic or two as well.

four leeks, chopped  – I sauted the onion with the leeks until they were soft and then added the garlic and stirred until I could smell it. I added about a tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme and a dash of chili pepper for umph. You know you’re on the right track when the kids run downstairs to ask what’s cooking.

Added 4.5 cups of vegetable stock

Added another 2 cups of water. David says he just uses water, but I need all the flavor help I can get. If I used water I’d get gruel. I know my meager skills too well.

Added the potatoes.

Simmered until the potatoes were easily pierced by a fork, which depending on how small you chopped them could be anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes.

Let cool just a bit, then puree in a blender, in batches if necessary. I kept some chunks of potato intact to add back into the puree, because I like to chew something with my soup.

Season expertly.

Ah! Warm, creamy deliciousness! The kids gobbled a bowl of this with crusty bread and a little side salad and washed it down with tea. And we were all warmed for the night. It was even tastier the next afternoon when reheated for lunch. I was greatly pleased. More soups coming up!

Which reminds me — National Soup Swap Day is Jan. 22!

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