I took delivery of a harvest hamper last week, very kindly supplied by the Best In Season folks, which included carrots, parsnips, celery, broccoli, red cabbage, york cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, yellow pepper, leeks and (last but by no means least) rooster potatoes. Phew! That’s enough to satisfy my 5-a-day requirements for some time to come. As you might expect, I have been giving the vegetables my full attention since.
I can report that I munched on the lettuce, lunched on the tomatoes, made a batch of kimchi with the red cabbage, used the pepper in a green tomato chutney (coming soon to a blog near you), and I can definitely see carrot soup in my future.
I also felt utterly compelled to make soup from the potatoes and leeks. It’s a classic combination and there ain’t nothing wrong with classic. If you want to be fancy and French about it, you could call this Potage Parmentier, named, as this kind of soup is, after Antoine Augustin Parmentier, the original champion of the spud in France, and who is credited with having devised it in the first place.
Potato and Leek Soup
It may be a classic but you’ll see plenty of variations on this particular soupy theme. Some recipes include onions, some not. Some include milk or cream, some not. Many use a chicken stock base, but you can make a very satisfying soup without. If you fancy something that’s served cold rather than hot, you can chill this and call it vichyssoise. As for me, my own particular thing is to add garlic and thyme, which you can do too, or not (in which case you will end up with something very close to the version described by Sippity Sup when he was going through his soup phase).
- approx. 500g potatoes
- 2 large leeks (white and light green parts chopped – should yield about 250g)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tblsps butter
- 0.5 tsp dried thyme
- approx. 800ml water
- 1.5 tsp fine salt or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
You’ll also need:
- Some kind of blending equipment if you prefer your soup to be smooth in texture. An immersion blender is the handiest.
- Chop the garlic and the white and light green parts of the leeks. Peel and cube the potatoes.
- Place a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt.
- Add the garlic and leeks to the pan, sauté over medium low heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, thyme and salt, toss with the leeks and add the water, enough to cover the veggies.
- Increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes break up easily when pressed with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Remove from the heat, blend, taste for salt and add more if you like, along with a few twists of black pepper. The soup will be quite thick, so thin it with additional water or with milk if you like and gently reheat. The addition of some cream is traditional but not obligatory.
- I like this served with a dollop of tangy natural yoghurt and some freshly chopped parsley if I have it.
- For a more traditional version, leave out the garlic and thyme and add cream and parsley or chives. You can replace some of the leeks with onion or use a chicken stock base instead of water if you like. Allow to cool and chill if it’s a vichyssoise you’re after.
- Soupiness for 3-4 people.