there is nothing like a bowl of soup to bring a complicated life to a screeching halt. not sure about where you live, but ’round these parts, we have about 3 weeks in the spring to sit outside and enjoy tolerable weather without melting, so everything is crammed into that short period making for a truly frenzied pace. i had to have a very stern talk with myself so as to not overbook, what with all the can’t-miss events and going’s-on that whirled around me. i picked and i chose. i weeded through. and i selected wisely.
one of the best decisions i made was to gather the ingredients (although you will most likely have most of them on hand) and prepare this delicately seasoned soup. i was lucky enough to find some beautiful leeks at my farmer’s market. the nourishment of this preparation is more than just skin deep; it is made without the addition of cream or milk, although it could certainly be added at the end or as a garnish after it is served up.
potato-leek soup (serves 6-8)
adapted from david lebovitz
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pure unsalted butter
4 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped from stalks
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional unless you are from texas)
6 cups water
1 1/4 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (red, white, russet all work)
2 bay leaves
freshly ground pepper
in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil and butter until fragrant. add sliced leeks and season with salt. saute over medium heat, stirring frequently until completely wilted. add thyme and cayenne pepper and cook about 1 minute longer. add water, potatoes and bay leaf and bring to a boil. reduce to simmer and cover. cook until potatoes are very tender, about 15-20 minutes.
pull out the bay leaves and blend soup with an immersion blender or in a regular counter blender or food mill. avoid using a food processor as this can render the mixture gummy. add freshly ground pepper and more salt to taste. thin with more water if desired.
and…voila! you can chill it and suddenly you have vichyssoise. how fancy are you?