Monday, October 18, 2004


I made this last night for A and his mother: my best, most reliable, serve-to-company, make-a-lot-at-once-and-freeze-for-later soup recipe. It’s easy, quick (as far as soups go), and very flavorful—especially this time, since I used the homemade chicken stock instead of canned broth. The milk, potatoes, and broth make it hearty and comforting enough for winter; the leeks, herbs, and lemon make it light and bright enough for spring. It’s good on its own, with a side salad, or with bread and cheese (like Gouda or Edam). It may be the perfect soup.

P.S. For extra awesomeness, try a little fresh-cracked lemon pepper over the top. Heaven!

5 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (1½ pounds trimmed)
1½ tablespoons butter
4 pounds russet potatoes
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you’re vegetarian)
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
juice of ½ lemon
milk or cream to taste (optional)

1. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly and cut them into ½-inch dice, throw them into a large soup pot, and add the water and salt (you can add a little more water if needed to cover them, which I typically have to do). Bring this to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Trim the root ends and dark green ends off the leeks, wash the leeks thoroughly, quarter them lengthwise, and slice them thinly, then add them to the butter in the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until they're very limp. (I like to cook them pretty well; otherwise they can be a little tough and squeaky between your teeth. They shouldn't brown, however--if they do, turn down the heat.)

3. When the potatoes are done, add the cooked leeks to the pot, along with the broth, herbs, lemon juice, and a generous amount of pepper. Cook everything together for about 10 minutes, taste for seasonings and correct them as needed (for me, it usually wants a little more salt, as there's none in my homemade broth). You may also add a little milk or cream (just eyeball it) to make the soup more creamy.

4. The soup can be eaten as-is, but I like to puree it briefly in a blender to make it smoother. Usually, I only puree about half or ¾ of the soup, so some texture remains. (You can also just mash the potatoes with a masher, if you want it less chunky but not pureed.)

Serves: about 12
Time: 45 minutes

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