Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Warming Winter Soup: Potato and Leek Soup with Fresh Rosemary

Getting through the winter for me means always having a hot pot of soup on the stove. I am also a fanatic of hot tea, so that goes in the same category. Whenever I enter the house and I find myself a bit peckish, I want to be able to heat up a cup of soup, crunch on some crackers, and drink some tea. At that moment, all is well in the world. Because of this habit, you all will be hearing a lot about winter soups--hope you don't mind! If you do, sorry, go check out the Recipe Box tab...I'm sure you'll find something!

Anyways, winter vegetables are absolutely choice in soups due to their velvety textures, ever-present richness, and that fantastic ability to get better on second and third day reheats. As winter progresses, and we fade out of the squash season, leafy greens become more sparse, and fresh herbs are all but a wisp of the imagination, I move on to my bean-based soups and stews...that means chili! For now, we are making a soup that can survive the transition with potatoes and leeks. This lovely soup can be pureed to a silky smooth texture, even though leeks are notorious for their stringiness--this is where the hand emulsifier becomes super handy...sauces, soups, drinks, everything!

This soup was made richer by adding chicken stock. This is a good opportunity to whip out that leftover turkey stock you froze from Thanksgiving. Just a bit will make a difference, but you can go purely stock instead of stock/water to cook up this soup.

Another thing that I think brought out some rich flavors was tearing up the rosemary instead of mincing it like most people would. Because I knew I was going to use the hand mixer to puree everything at the end, I was able to sacrifice a few larger pieces without worry about someone's cheek getting stabbed by a stray rosemary leaf (those spineys are rough). I have found that torn herbs give a better flavor because their oils are not lost on the chopping block when you go at them with a knife. Let's get on with it already!

Potato and Leek Soup with Fresh Rosemary
5 or so Red Potatoes, chopped 
1 Leek, whites and greens sliced
1 sprig Fresh rosemary
4 C chicken stock 
(water, vegetable stock, or turkey stock works as well)
Black Pepper

That's right, without seasonings, this soup requires four ingredients. I told you it was a winter staple! Chop up the leeks and potatoes first. You can choose to keep the skin on or off of the potato. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat and sauté your leeks in butter (2-3 Tablespoons) until they soften and just start to brown on the edges. Then add in the potatoes and lower the heat a bit, cook until they begin to soften too. There might be some potatoes and leeks sticking to the bottom, but that's okay--that's your flavor! You could splash a little white wine in there at this point to deglaze the pan and add more flavor. 

Then you add enough stock to cover the potatoes and leeks and bring to a boil. As always with soups, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. That's all!

I served it with pecorino romano cheese, sprinkled with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Warming and delicious!

Enjoy this as a meal in and of itself or as a first course. I had it on the second day with a leftover lamb shank from Jack Fry's (don't worry, you'll be hearing about it). 

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