Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup

It’s time for another recipe! First, the recipe. Then, me blathering onward about my occasionally questionable culinary capabilities and the memories this particular feast holds for me. Just know this is one of my more complicated recipes.

  • The Ingredients
    • 8 large leeks, halved, rinsed well, and chopped
    • 4-8 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 2 shallots, diced
    • Either: 4 ribs of celery, chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (decreasing other salt used accordingly)
    • 4 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped to half inch chunks
    • 16 cups either vegetable or chicken stock
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 4-6 tablespoons good salted butter
    • Either 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme in a tea ball or sachet
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary in a tea ball or sachet
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram in a tea ball or sachet
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • The Way of Preparing
    1. Leeks are a bitch to work with, but worth the effort. Split them in half and rinse them thoroughly. Separate the leaves and make sure to get all the grit out. Use only the white and light green bits but chop them fairly well to help them cook quicker.
    2. Use a big stock pot for this. No, bigger than that. Like, I think I use a 16 quart pot or something like that. Big enough to fit a small child.
    3. Add the butter, shallots, garlic, leeks, and onion to the pot. If using celery, add it here. Cook on medium until the leeks, shallots, and the onions are translucent.
    4. Add your potatoes and the stock. Bump the heat up to medium high. Add the salt, pepper, celery salt if using, sachet of herbs, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper.
    5. Boil until the potatoes are tender. Remove the sachet and bay leaves.
    6. Carefully using an immersion blender and being sure to remove the soup from the heat, blend until smooth.
  • Notes
    • How to make better
      • Boil some Parmesan rinds in with the potatoes and remove before blending
      • Serve with a crusty bread and butter
    • Stretch it further: uh… do you need more than that?
    • Storage: freeze in ice cube trays and store for up to six months in a zip top bag.

Memories

My Daddy and I made this. To date, it’s one of my favorite soups and favorite memories I have of us together. It was the day I learned why the fuck I couldn’t get any of my pasta sauces to exactly match his. The answer? Parmesan rinds and celery salt. That was the big secret.

He used to have this giant bookshelf bent to hell with the number of cookbooks on it. The shelves practically smiled under the weight. We picked a cookbook, flipped open to a recipe, and laughed at the recommended single clove of garlic.

One run to the local HEB later, we had leeks, laughter, and a damn good soup going. We also got to play with the immersion blender, so that was fun.

We made the soup several times after that, but that first time, using the biggest pot we had so I could barely see into the damn thing it was so tall, that’s the one I remember the most.

Miss you, Daddy.

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