Thursday, October 15, 2009

Irish Potato and Leek soup

First off, let me tell you how I found this doozy of a soup.

My son has, in the past, been a very picky person. Something happened to him when he turned 10. Somehow those magic double digits altered his brain function or something because now, after all these years of telling him he has to at least try something before turning his nose up at it, he is voluntarily trying strange new foods.

We were at Sweet Tomatoes and, instead of eating his arbitrary three vegetables and a good size helping of macaroni and cheese before asking for dessert, he skipped the macaroni and went over to look at the soup bar. He decided on their Irish Potato and Leek Soup (simply because he has taken a liking to the idea of his Irish heritage), and topped it with healthy servings of bacon bits, sour cream and shredded cheese.

After polishing off his concoction he turned to me and said, "Can we try making this at home sometime?" I certainly wasn't going to let this opportunity slip through my fingers and that week I bought red potatoes leeks and looked up recipes online until I found one that looked right.
The great thing about it was that our experiment landed squarely in the month of March just in time for St Patricks day. We used enough leeks that the pureed end result actually took on a greenish hue. The color of the food enticed his hesitant siblings to try it with an open mind, and in the end they all agreed that it was a "keeper".

So now, with out further ado...

Irish Potato and Leek Soup

(I have always like the format used in the Joy of Cooking for recipes, so I'll use it here.)

First: peel and chop into chunks
1/2 bag of Red Potatoes (2.5 lbs )
Cover the potatoes with water and set to boil about 20 minutes or until they are tender enough to mash.
Meanwhile: wash, peel, slice, and otherwise prepare
3 Leeks (about 1 lb)
2 Medium cooking onions
Saute the vegetables in a large stock pot in
4 Tablespoons Butter (Salted or unsalted, doesn't matter to me)
After they are soft and slightly transparent, add
5 cups chicken stock or broth
2 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf (broken, but not crushed)
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Reduce the heat to low and simmer until everything is mushy and ready to blend. Drain the potatoes and set aside while everything else is simmering. Remove the bay leaf, and mix in the potatoes.
Now you have two options. First (my preferred method) you can use an immersion blender to blend everything into a smooth creamy consistency. Second, you can transfer the soup to a blender (in batches) and puree until smooth and creamy.
Serve with whatever potato toppings you choose, like
Bacon bits
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
OR simply with a swirl of
half and half
and some
Chopped fresh chives
If you want to double the recipe and freeze it, you can use chicken bouillon cubes. I used about 2 cups of water and 5 bouillon cubes to concentrate the soup. I also reduced the amount of milk to 2 cups during prep and eye-balled the rest of the milk when I reconstituted it later.

Oh, and if you want to add a surreal quality to already small greenish tint, you can add a couple drops of food coloring to make the kids happy. You could even try dyeing some ham cubes and they can have Green Soup and Ham. Just don't try it "in the rain, on a train." It might get a bit watery.

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