It is soup weather here at Chez Katsmama, and after doing a pot of homemade stock for grandma noodles yesterday, I am making a big batch of potato leek to take to school for a birthday potluck.
I didn’t grow up with leeks, and in case you didn’t either, they are in the onion family, but milder, with a different texture. I dislike big slimy pieces of onion in soup or chili, but leek has a toothsomeness to it, so it doesn’t feel nasty.
Think about ratios for this recipe- about twice as much potato by volume as leek, then about an equal volume of liquid. For a pot luck, 4 cups chopped potatoes, 2 cups leeks, 6 cups liquid. For lunch, 1 cup potato, 1/2 cup leek, 1 1/2 cup liquid.
Slit leeks in half, chop into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Spray with water and stir around with your hands, popping the layers apart as much as possible to get rid of any soil stuck between the layers.
Lift the cut pieces out of the water and place in a colander, then rinse again. There will be some silt in the mixing bowl. Lifting out the cut pieces prevents that silt from getting in your soup. You’re welcome.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy pan, then add leeks.( you could use bacon grease here, which is delicious, and all you have to do is fry the bacon, pull it out of the pan, then crumble bacon into the finished soup as a very last step. Or eat all the bacon. Whatever.)
Stir a bit, toss in a pinch of salt, then cover. Allow leeks to sweat while you peel and chop potatoes.
I have been known to just scrub my potatoes really well, and leave the peel on, since that is where the fiber is, but this is for people at school, and…I don’t know. Maybe the people in the teachers’ lounge do need more fiber, but I am not going to be the one to tell them.
After the leeks have sweated for about 10 minutes at medium, add the chunks of potato, put the lid on again and let them sweat for a bit.
Add water (if you are using bacon) or stock (if you have it) or bouillon and simmer until the potatoes and leeks are soft.
Blend either with a stick blender, or in a regular blender, in batches, until soupy. I like to leave some chunks for texture. If it is too thick, add more liquid.
Crumble in bacon, if using, add a dollop of sour cream, and enjoy.