Thursday, January 15, 2009

cream of potato soup

I have been on a big soup making kick lately. I made vegetable beef soup and split pea soup within the last two weeks. Last night I made this cream of potato and leek soup. I have a list on my refrigerator of meals to be prepared and that includes at least one more soup and chili. I do have to keep a list of dishes that I plan to make or else I will go to the store, buy all the ingredients, put them away and completely forget about it. Three days later I am wondering why I bought this particular combination of food items and I generally end up making something completely different from them than was originally intended. Funny that, no? Besides, I LOVE making lists. I could keep a list of where my lists are located!

I blame my soup, stew, and chili making binge on the cold weather. Indeed, we are expecting a high temperature of 20 tomorrow. Brr... that's cold for Maryland. I grew more accustomed to that kind of weather in Detroit but my blood has quickly thinned out in the two years we have lived here. Of course Detroit is expecting a high of like 3 degrees today, so I guess that is something I should think about, huh?

Anyway, this soup was a request from my husband. He said he wanted this soup to be creamy but also to have chunks of potatoes in it like a chowder. So, that is what I made for him. The most important thing for me when I make soup is that it really taste like what the star ingredient is. Chicken soup should taste like chicken, cream of mushroom like mushroom, and carrot soup like carrots, right? Right! This soup really tastes very potato-y (potato-ish?) with leek as a supporting role and I was very happy about that.

Cream of potato and leek soup that is creamy but has chunks in it like a chowder
Serves 6

5 thick slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon of cooking oil
1 leek, white and tender green part, sliced and washed really well
1 cloves of garlic, minced
3 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup of AP flour
4 large russet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cubed
1 cup of half and half
2 cups of chicken broth
fresh chopped parsley or chives would be good
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Heat oil in a large stock pot or sauce pan over medium high heat and add the bacon pieces. Cook until crispy and all the fat is rendered out about 5 minutes stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn. Remove the bacon, reserving all the rendered fat. Add the leeks, celery, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the leeks are tender. Add all the flour at once and stir until well combined. Add the chicken stock, 1/2 and 1/2, salt and about 3/4 of the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a good simmer and simmer until the potatoes are very tender about 20 minutes depending on how small you cut them in the first place. If the soup gets too dry or thick, add more chicken stock or even some milk. Remove soup from the heat and with a hand held immersion blender, blend up the potatoes in the stock and cream. It should be smooth and thick. Return to the heat and add the 1/4 of potatoes reserved. Adjust heat to maintain a good simmer to cook the potatoes to fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add most of the bacon back in, reserving a little for the top when you serve it. Finally, adjust the seasoning. Depending on how salty your bacon was, you may need more salt. I served mine with cheese toast made with Italian break and a little Gruyere cheese. The Gruyere was really good with this since it it a smoky cheese.

Ok, so next soups up in my house are homemade chili and a Greek lemon and chicken soup that is thickened with eggs. Sounds awesome, right?

I am still really excited about the things I was excited about yesterday. Only now I am excited about eating the potato soup for lunch today instead of dinner yesterday and pitchers and catchers report for Spring training one day sooner.

No comments: