Cooking meals with seasonal vegetables is a great way to pack in the flavor and nutrients into your meals. Potatoes and leeks are abundant during the autumn harvest and into winter.
This vegetarian soup is a great way to combine these vegetables in a hearty winter dish.
Leeks are a member of the Allium vegetable family and could be described as a giant scallion as they have a long, white stalk that grows into darker green leaves. Leeks work well in this soup as they impart a mild and sweet flavor that compliments potatoes well.
This is an easy recipe to make. Add a nice loaf of crusty bread and you’ve got a delicious and satisfying meal for your family and friends.
Yield: Makes about 6 (first course) servings with leftovers
Accompaniment: Dollop of sour cream (optional)
- 8 medium leeks (3 pound), trimmed, leaving white and pale green parts only, and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 12 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 small boiling potato (6 ounces)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth (48 fluid ounces)
- 1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California
- 1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Wash sliced leeks in a large bowl of cold water, agitating them, then lift out and drain well in a colander.
Cook leeks, onion, carrot, celery, salt, and pepper in 4 tablespoons butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, then add to onion mixture along with wine, stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in parsley and simmer soup, uncovered, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and keep soup at a bare simmer.
Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then add flour and cook roux, whisking, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 cups simmering stock (from soup), whisking vigorously (mixture will be thick), then whisk mixture into remaining soup and return to a simmer, whisking.
Blend soup in 4 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), about 1 minute per batch, transferring to a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Reheat if necessary, then season with salt and pepper.
Soup is best when made 1 to 3 days ahead (to allow flavors to develop). Chill soup, uncovered, until completely cooled, then cover. Reheat, thinning with water if necessary.
Instead of transferring soup in batches to a blender… turn off burner and blend soup in the pot with a hand blender.
Choose a leek that is no more than one inch in diameter, firm and straight with dark green leaves and a long white stalk, or stem. The thicker the leek, the more stringy and tough the vegetable will be.