Fall is coming, Fall is coming!! At my house this means it’s Soup Season! I have yet to meet a soup I don’t love but my family is a bit more picky. We have some favorites but this year I am going to branch out and test my skills and see what all I can make a soup from! I will Google recipes and talk to my fellow eaters and chefs, maybe even sneak into Panera and see what they are doing with soups for the season, there is no shame in getting ideas from places other than your head!
So lets get into this Potato Leek soup! I started with a seasoning packet that included a recipe but I strayed a bit.
Here is what the package says:
And here is what I did:
I peeled and chopped the taters and 1 leek and boiled them in 64 oz of chicken stock and 4 cups of water. I did not add the seasoning mix at this step because I didn’t want to lose any of the flavor and cooking in the broth adds another layer of flavor.
While the potatoes and leeks are boiling for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of the chunks, the smaller the pieces the less the cook time) the extra leeks can be cooked. This is a totally optional step but for me it is essential in the flavor layers!
Leeks are a member of the onion, garlic, shallot family- Allium ampeloprasum for the nerds. For me the taste is like a shallot and a garlic had a baby, mild and savory and sweet at the same time.
How you slice the leeks here isn’t terribly important, I went with half moons.
Once the leeks are chopped I start with a tablespoon of butter in a skillet on medium-low with a pinch of salt and pepper and garlic, I use the plain granulated type instead of raw because of the cook time needed to soften and yum up the leeks. The leeks will need all of the tater boiling time plus some since they are a little bit fibrous.
Once the leeks are translucent and starting to brown they are ready and you can turn the heat off and leave them in the pan to finish cooking over the residual heat.
Back to those taters, once they are fork tender use a coffee mug to scoop out 6 or 8 ounces of this liquid gold then dump them into a colander to strain the rest of the liquid then return them to the pot and add about 3 1/2 cups of water, the seasoning packet and if you want about a half cup of cream or half and half. *Now what I am telling you to do here is not what I did because what I did wasn’t right, I gave all of that gorgeous cooking liquid to the disposal, added my half and half later and had to go back and thicken my soup back up. On to the correct way!!
So the drained potatoes and leeks, 3 1/2 cups of water, seasoning packet and cream are in the pot, bring this up to a simmer, has to be just a simmer or the cream will do ugly things, and taste. *You should really be tasting all along the way to make sure nothing is too salty or got weird or didn’t come out like you imagined, taste the potato water to make sure the broth didn’t make it too salty as it is nearly impossible to unsalt food. You can always add more but it’s difficult to take away* Once you have determined that things are tasty break out that immersion blender you got as a wedding gift and get busy!
I like to still have some chunks of potato so I don’t go too crazy but this can be put in the blender, another wedding gift to use, and pureed as smooth and silky as one wants. Also this is where that cup full of the liquid gold comes in, as you are blending if the soup is getting thinner than you want stop blending and return the soup to the stove and get a simmer going again and add that magic to the simmer, stir it around and turn off the heat, the extra starch in that water will add as a natural and already seasoned thickening agent.
Once you are blended to the thickness of your mouths dreams dish it up and chow down! I topped ours with some of those crispy onions from a can and served a loaf of slightly crusty bread along side.
And now I will explain how I went wrong and how I fixed it. Like I mentioned I dumped all the potato water down the sink, so sad I know. Then I continued on my merry, very wrong way by not adding the cream with the water and seasonings, I just blended up the water and stuff and when I thought it was just past thick I added the cream and blended more instead of just whisking it in and ended up with soup so thin it was damn near broth. I made a slurry of cornstarch and got the broth back up to a simmer and added it and simmered and stirred and made more slurry and added it and simmered and stirred and 10 minutes later we had dinner!
Thanks ya’ll! Happy cooking!