On a cool autumn day, there is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. Two days later there is nothing more boring than that huge container of leftover soup in your refrigerator. To keep things interesting in the kitchen we rely on an old classic- potato and leek soup. It’s the kind of thing Julia Child likely whisked up countless times during her stint at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Potato-Leek Soup, aka Vichyssoise, is a staple of French Cuisine because it forms the base of nearly all creamy soups. What does that mean? It means we can turn one pot of soup into 3 completely different soups, without making a huge mess of the kitchen.
Follow along with photo above:
center- classic potato-leek soup, finished with a drizzle of good olive oil and a bit of fresh thyme. Simple and delicious.
left- cream of tomato soup, potato-leek soup thrown back into the blender with two roasted tomatoes. Finish with parmesan cheese and basil. Don’t forget a good buttery grilled cheese sandwich, too!
right- cream of broccoli soup, this time you’re throwing the potato-leek soup into the blender with cups of broccoli florets that have been cooked until very tender in a pot of boiling salted water (blanched). Top it off with cheddar cheese and crispy bacon bits!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups leeks
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 lb potatoes (preferably yukon gold)
- 6 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- salt & pepper as needed
- Trim the dark green tops from the leeks- the light green stuff is fine- chop into half inch pieces and wash is a large bowl of cool water.
- Melt the butter in a large sauce pot, add the washed leeks- it’s ok if they;re still a little wet- and cook until very tender, but not browned (6-8 minutes on medium high heat). Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. If you’re using yukon gold, they don’t have to be peeled before chopping- but you can. Add the potatoes to the pot along with the broth or water and bring to a simmer
- Simmer until the potatoes are very tender. Remove one potato from the pot, place it on a cutting board and press it with the back of a spoon. If it is easily crushed the soup is ready to be pureed.
- Transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot by pouring it through a fine mesh strainer and whisk in the heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- **To make cream of tomato soup: cut two beef steak tomatoes in half and roast in the oven at 300˚ for 1 hour (they should dry and shrivel a bit). Puree the tomatoes with two cups of the potato-leek soup.
- **To make cream of broccoli soup, puree 2 cups potato-leek soup with 2 cups blanched broccoli florets.