A couple weeks ago, my "baby step" was to try new produce. Leeks were at the top of my list because it seems that all of the cool cooking shows or fancy food magazines have recipes using leeks. And we all know that I'm secretly striving to be like Paula Deen. NOT! I really just think they are cool looking and wondered what they tasted like (and if I could get my family to try them).
My organic leeks arrived last Friday in my Azure Standard order, and due to some unforeseen activities, I didn't get to make my soup until last night (Tuesday). I can't believe I waited so long. It was awesome (like both of my kids ate 4 bowls awesome)!
Granted, in the past couple of weeks I've read about 40 different recipes for potato and leek soup and similar variations. I didn't find one specifically that I thought would be better than others, but I saw definite elements in some that I knew I would love. Last night when I started cooking, I started throwing things together and ended up with a masterpiece. It would be nice to have a picture of this masterpiece, but my camera is on its last leg and isn't taking very good pictures at all. You'll just have to trust me.
2 tablespoons bacon grease (oil or butter would work, but the bacon adds flavor)
2 leeks, sliced/rings separated, soaked and spun dry
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (I still do the jar kind.)
8 cups chicken broth, divided
6 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and cut in coins
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. cream cheese (optional)
In a large skillet (I used a 10 inch cast iron and it was on the smallish side), saute the leeks, onion and garlic in bacon grease until softened. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and simmer until completely soft. Meanwhile boil the potatoes, carrots, and celery in the remaining chicken broth until potatoes are cooked through, but not mush. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Puree the leak mixture and cream cheese adding a little broth from the potatoes if necessary to thin (I used my new food processor). Add the puree to the pot of potatoes and stir to thoroughly incorporate the puree. Heat through.
If you desire a more blended soup, you can scoop out some of the chunks and run them through the food processor and return it back to the pot. Or, for a completely smooth soup, you can use a stick blender and blend the soup in the pot. I chose to blend some, but leave lots of chunks (I thought the pureed orange of the carrot might make the coloring of the soup unappetizing.).
*I added the cream cheese to the main pot after incorporating the puree and it didn't melt completely. It tasted fine but had tiny white pieces throughout. I'm thinking that pureeing it along with the leeks will melt it completely and eliminate that.
Last night we topped our soup with shredded co-jack cheese, but today I had it plain and it was equally yummy without it. I can imagine that adding crumbled bacon would also be nice.
Link up at Penniless Parenting's Hearth and Soul Blog Hop.