Potato Leek Soup

November 14, 2014 | By | More

potato leek soup

When I search out new recipes for soup, I’m usually drawn to spicier preparations or those that  are full of chunky vegetables. I skip over those that have a list of less flavorful ingredients that I can’t imagine coming together to make something great. Potato leek soup is one of those recipes that I tend to bypass in favor of my preferred tomato soup or a hearty chili.

I can’t remember now what compelled me to try this humble potato leek soup recipe from Ina Garten. It could have been that 1) I had potatoes and leeks at home and wasn’t sure what to do with them or 2) that it contains creme fraiche, heavy cream and crispy fried shallots, or 3) that Ina Garten has never let me down! Maybe it was all three.

When you roast the potatoes, leeks, and arugula together, the flavor of all three is amped up considerably. The crispy bits on the sheet pan get deglazed and added to the soup along with white wine and rich cream. At the end, the velvety soup gets a crown of crispy fried shallots and, if you want, a few curls of Parmesan cheese. I hope you are convinced that you should make this potato leek soup! It’s decadent, so serve with a salad and dry white wine to balance the richness. I think this soup would make an elegant starter for Thanksgiving too.

potato leek soup

Crispy fried shallots…come to mama!

Word of caution regarding the fried shallots: if you make them ahead of time, put them away out of sight and try to forget they exist. Otherwise, you’ll walk by them and take a nibble, “just this once” until they are all gone. They’re that good! They would be a great salad topper or perfect paired with blue cheese and topping a grass-fed burger.

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

For crispy shallots:

1 1/2 cups oil for frying (olive oil or vegetable oil)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 shallots, peeled and sliced

potato leek soup

Humble beginnings

For soup: 

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks, cleaned thoroughly, white and light green parts

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 cups arugula, lightly packed

1/2 cup dry white wine, plus 2 Tbsp. for serving (If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!)

6-7 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus Parmesan shavings for serving

To make Parmesan shavings for garnish that will not melt immediately into the soup, use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips.

 

Step one: 

Make the crispy shallots. These can be made ahead of time and stored at room temperature for up to a week.

1 1/2 cups oil for frying (olive oil or vegetable oil)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 shallots, peeled and sliced

Heat the oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the mixture reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Reduce heat to low, add the shallots, and cook for about 45 minutes. Stir them occasionally to prevent them from sticking together and ensure even browning. They are done when they are a rich golden brown. Remove shallots carefully from the oil using a slotted spoon. Cool and drain on paper towels.

potato leek soupStep two:

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks, cleaned thoroughly, white and light green parts

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 cups arugula, lightly packed

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine potatoes and leeks in a large bowl. Add olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Toss to coat vegetables evenly and spread on a sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times, until very tender. Add arugula to the pan and roast for another 5 minutes.

Step three:

1/2 cup dry white wine, plus 2 Tbsp. for serving

6-7 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Remove the sheet pan and place it over two burners. Drizzle on the wine and 1 cup of the stock, and cook over low heat, gently scraping up any brown bits stuck to the sheet pan. Carefully transfer the vegetables and pan liquid to a large stockpot, add about 5 more cups of stock, and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Add enough additional stock to make a thick soup.

Stir in cream, creme fraiche, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Check and adjust seasonings.

When you’re ready to serve the potato leek soup, reheat it gently over low heat. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. white wine and 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese.  Serve topped with a few Parmesan cheese shavings, if desired, and a little pile of crispy shallots.

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Category: Fall, Favorites, Food, General, Main Dishes, Recipes, Winter

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