Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scrump-dilly-icious Potato Leek Soup

One Word: "YUM!!!"

So I know I've blathered about the Farm Share before... And how one aspect of it, that I really like, is that sometimes I get sh*t that I never, ever would think to buy at the store. And, in fact, sometimes I get things that I just plain don't know what-the-hell-to-do-with! And I'm forced to go figure it out :-)

Well, last weeks' delivery included Leeks (which I have cooked, maybe once or twice) and Potatoes (which I shun because of the carb count) - more specifically Klamath Pearl Potatoes which are like little white creamy baby 'taters.

Annnnd... Well, with "Winter" upon us, Soup just seemed like a good idea. And I've got Potatoes and Leeks, right? What say we make a batch of Potato Leek Soup?

So I surfed the intertubes, like I usually do. I read a bunch of different recipes, like I usually do. And I picked and choosed what sounded good from each of 'em and smushed 'em together into something that I can claim as my own!

But, to be fair, here were the three recipes I "borrowed" from:

I daresay I'm getting *much* better about writing stuff down as I go along so I can A) Share it with you and B) Maybe DUPLICATE it someday?!!

And, let me tell you, this soup is definitely good enough to make again!

QT's Scrump-dilly-icious Potato Leek Soup

  • 6 strips of thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon - reserve the bacon grease
  • 2 TBS Butter (optional, if needed)
  • 2 Large Leeks - Dark Green "tops" removed (only use the white and pale green parts)
  • 1 lb Klamath Pearl Potatoes (or any kind of "smooth" potato. I think russets would be too "mealy") - peeled and chopped into small (1/2") chunks
  • 4 C Chicken Broth (Or Vegetable - your choice)
  • 1/2 C Marsala Cooking Wine
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2-3 TBS Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Marjoram
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • Salt and White Pepper
  • Small Handful of Fresh Chives (chopped)
Cook the bacon in a medium-sized soup pot (for once, I over-estimated the size pot I needed! I used my Big Mama-Jama Dutch Oven! HAH!). Cook it til crispy then take it out and tamp off the grease with a paper towel. Set the bacon aside, but leave the grease in the pan. I turned off the burner at this point...

Add thinly-sliced Leeks to the hot bacon grease, sprinkle some salt on top and let 'em soak in the grease and start to sweat - About 5 mins.

Turn on the heat to medium and start to saute the Leeks until tender. Don't brown them, just let them get super-limp and translucent. You might need to add melted butter at this stage (I added 2 TBS). It takes roughly 20 mins for the leeks to get properly limp-ified.

At this point, you could add the 1/2 c cooking wine to deglaze the pan. I didn't - I added the wine later, but it seems like it might be a good option...

Then I dumped the Chicken Broth and chopped potatoes into the pot. Added the bay leaves, chopped parsley, dried marjoram and thyme sprigs. Now I'm not all Fancy-Schmantzy with the whole "Bouquet Garni" thing. Bay leaves are easy to pick-out. The thyme could have been more problematic, so I left it in the hot-pot just long enough so the leaves got kinda limp. Then I fished the sprigs out, let 'em cool on a plate, then it was pretty-easy to strip the leaves off the stems and dump 'em back into the pot (or you could be totally lazy and just use dried thyme. I've still got fresh thyme growing out back and - By Gawd - I intend to use it!!!)

Anyway, I brought the pot to a boil on med-high heat. Then I turned it down to low, covered the pot, and let everything simmer for appx 20-30 mins 'til the potatoes would break-apart easily when poked with a fork.

While all of this is going on, chop up your crispy bacon into bacon-bit sized chunks.

Thennnnn.... I fished out the bay leaves and grabbed my immersion blender. Stuck it in the pot and whooshed everything up. I wasn't going for a super-creamy consistency, but I wanted it a tad less "chunky" (and it seemed weird to be eating Leek-O's!). So I whir-whir-whirred it 'til the soup was semi-thick, but when I scooped a spoonful, there were still a few chunks of potatoes. Just do whatever makes you happy!!!

Okay, NOW we're nearing the end (yes, this *is* a bit more labor-intensive than "Dump everything in the crock-pot and go about your business!"). This is where you start tasting the soup and deciding what you want to do next. I added the one cup of cream, and one cup of buttermilk. Gave it a taste. Added some salt. Tasted it again. Decided it really *did* need wine, so I dug out the Marsala Cooking Wine (I didn't have any dry white wines - but the Marsala turned out to be quite nice!). Tasted it again. Added more salt and a bit of fresh-ground black pepper, and a couple shakes of white pepper.

Tasted it again and decided it needed a little Sumpin-Sumpin. Finally settled on two GENEROUS tablespoon-glops of sour cream. Perfectomundo!!!

Serve the soup with bacon bits (which tend to sink when you sprinkle 'em on top!) and fresh-chopped chives.

Yeah, this soup was a bit of work - but definitely worth it!!!

Makes appx 6 generous servings.

There was a little left-over, so I've stuck it in the fridge. I'm very curious to know if this is one of those soups that gets EVEN BETTER when you re-heat it the next day...

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