It’s a good thing that every summer I make a point of growing things that I can store for the entire winter. It isn’t exactly the same as gardening, but being able to run to my mudroom and fill a basket with potatoes and some leeks that I harvested in the fall feels a tiny bit like gardening.
This weekend I’ll be pulling out some Russet potatoes and a couple of leeks to cook the one thing that helps make the long and garden-less month of January not only bearable, but enjoyable – potato leek soup.
And it gets even better than that because this is no-measure potato leek soup. There is absolutely no measuring at all in this recipe and only three ingredients, unless you want to get fancy. And yet it tastes great.
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Saffron threads (optional)
Suggestion: Use one leek for every three medium-sized potatoes.
Prep your leeks by slicing them lengthwise and rinsing them well under water. Thinly slice the white and light-green parts (not the tough dark-green leaves). Melt some butter in a large pot and sauté the leeks until soft.
Meanwhile, peel your potatoes and chop them into chunks. Add them to the cooked leeks in the pot.
Pour in enough broth so that everything is just covered.
Cook over medium heat until the potatoes pierce easily with a paring knife. Don’t overcook your potatoes, which will make them gluey.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the contents to a blender. (Or, if you don’t want to transfer the contents, use an immersion blender.) Blend until just smooth. Again, over-blending is one of the things that will cause your potatoes to become gluey.
If you decide to go the fancy route, you can soak five or six strands of saffron in two tablespoons of warm water for 10 minutes while the soup is cooking. After it’s blended, add the saffron mixture to the soup and stir.
Season with salt and pepper and serve with garlic croutons on top.
Hints and Tips:
Leeks are “mounded” with dirt while they grow. This is what keeps the bottoms of them nice and white. It’s also why they’re always filled with dirt when you buy them, so that’s why you need to rinse, rinse, rinse.
Potatoes are either waxy or floury. Floury potatoes are what you want for potato soup, so try to use baking potatoes or Kennebec potatoes. In a pinch, Yukon Gold will work as well; just make sure you don’t overcook or over-blend them.
If your soup seems too thick, add milk, broth or water to thin it to your liking.
Love bacon? Cheddar cheese? Sour Cream? Add all of them on top with the croutons and you’ll be the hit of the soup parade.
Karen Bertelsen is a Gemini Award nominated television host who has appeared on some of Canada's major networks including HGTV, W Network, Slice and MuchMoreMusic. Five years ago she started the blog The Art of Doing Stuff (www.theartofdoingstuff.com) as a creative outlet for her writing and endless home projects. The Art of Doing Stuff now receives over half a million views per month and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Style at Home and Canadian Gardening magazines.