Leek and Potato Soup
Here it is, folks, the last of the last of the St. Patty’s Day meals. Although I’ve enjoyed the Irish recipes that we’ve dished up this month, I’m ready to retire my potato peeler for a while – and so is my waistline. This soup is a lighter version of the standard “potato leek” but it’s heavier on the leek than it is the potato, offering more flavor for less calories – and no cream added! If you like your soup super creamy (is that homophone getting old yet?) you can blend it to be smooth (like in the photo above), or leave bits of potato, leek, and celery. Regardless of how you dish it up, I think you’ll enjoy this tasty Irish soup. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ♣
Leek and Potato Soup
- 2 Tbsp. oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2-3 medium sized russet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 3 celery stalks, with leaves included, roughly diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks), depending on preference of thickness
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp. sour cream thinned with milk for serving (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped, for serving (optional)
(I decided to add the garlic and bay leaf at the last minute so they didn’t make the family photo, sorry.)
Leeks: I always leave a hint (just a hint) of dark green parts on my leeks because it makes the soup greener (is that right?) Greener? More green? Anyway, you should use about this much leek…
Leeks can hide dirt in their super thin layers, so after you slice them, it’s a good idea to swish them around in water to release any grim hanging on, like so…
Celery: Nothing special about these guys, just chop them and include the leaves.
Potatoes: Peel them, then cut them into ¼-inch slices. Cut the slices again into ¼-inch sticks, and finally cut the sticks into cubes. (I do the potatoes last so that they don’t turn that weird pinkish color as the sugars oxidize.) The progression of the potato…
And the gang’s all here!
Add butter and oil to a large soup pot set over medium-high heat, and cook until butter has melted. Add the vegetables and the crushed bay leaf, and sauté until soft, but not brown, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add 3 cups of the stock, bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced by a fork.
Purée soup with an immersion hand-blender right in the pot; or in two batches, purée soup in a food processor or blender until you’ve reached the desired consistency, either smooth or chunky. This is chunky…
Return to pot and taste for seasoning. Thin with more stock if needed.
Ladle into preheated bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped chives and a drizzle of sour cream (or a sour cream shamrock – see How To below). Serve with dark Irish soda bread, or another hearty bread.
Making a sour cream shamrock is easier than it looks, here’s how you do it.
1) Thin sour cream with a little milk and stir until smooth.
2) With a small spoon, place 4 dots of sour cream in the middle of the bowl.
3) Using a toothpick or bamboo skewer, drag one of the dots into the middle of the circle.
4) Follow suit with the other 4 dots, dragging them to the center of the circle, forming the body of the shamrock.
5) Continue to pull the sour cream downward, creating the stem of the shamrock.