It has been a rough day yesterday. A sick child. A sister traveling from Australia just to be stuck sleeping on the airport in New York city. Winter, Cold. After hours of doing laundry and cleaning up making sure that no one else gets sick and hours of trying to locate where in the world is my sister and what detours she has to take to finally come visit us in the States I decided to make the best Comfort Food I know of, well maybe apart from Mashed Potatoes but who really eats those by themselves (myhusbandyesterdayforasnack).
I present Potato Leek Soup. You knew it had to be about potatoes didn’t you? Potatoes make everything better, and if they don’t there is always distilled potato juice, which is known to cure anything well at least for the first couple of hours.
You will need: 6 leeks, 4 stalks of celery, 4 shallots, 2 1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and diced), 6 cloves of garlic, 8 cups chicken stock, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 3 tbs olive oil, 4tbs butter, 2 dried bay leaves, 6 rosemary springs or 2 tsp dry, 4 springs parsley, 1 tsp black peppercorns.
Prepare the leeks by cutting off the non white leaves and roots.
Cut in half and look for soil. Leeks are in a onion family but they tend to store soil more then any other onion so it is important to clean them right since there is nothing that spoils creamy soup more then dirt.
I run my leeks under cold water making sure I clean each layer
My cutting board usually needs a good clean after too
When everything has been cleaned slice the leeks
6 garlic cloves
and 4 stalks of celery
Heat 3 tbs oil and 4 tbs butter in a soup pot
add leeks, shallots, celery and garlic
saute until soften
In the meantime make bouquet garni by placing bay leaves, rosemary, parsley and peppercorns in a cheesecloth. I have found little baggies somewhere and use them all the time, then wash (sometimes in a dishwasher) and reuse. In the past I have dumped the herbs in and tried to fish them out later, but that was when I lived alone and had a lot of time on my hands. Now I don’t have the luxury to do anything taking more then 3 seconds, unless I plan to involve thing one and two. You can always just tie them together or put them in a tea container.
When the leek mixture is soften add the potatoes
and 8 cups of chicken stock, bring to boil
lower to simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft (about 30 minutes), remove and discard bouquet garni
Place half the soup in a mixer, blend
Return to the soup
Sometimes I like the soup very chunky sometimes I blend all of it so it is creamy and smooth, almost like baby food, no chewing needed. That is when I am really lazy.
Slowly add milk and cream
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Personally I add Vegeta, which is flavored salt from Croatia loved by all Polish housewives. In actuality it is a mixture of salt and dehydrated vegetables like everything we already added to this soup plus carrot and parsnip, sugar, nutmeg etc. It is so good that I am adding it in even though it contains monosodium glutamate. I am not allergic and so willing to take the risk, again and again.
Serve hot, by itself or garnished with chives and or bacon bits. It freezes well too so you can keep it in the ice box when ready to come home for a comfy meal especially in these crazy East Coast winter.