All right, so maybe if I live the rest of my life without ever eating, making or seeing tomato soup ever again, I will be perfectly happy; however I do love a good soup. Generally I can’t get enough of them, especially in winter when oil prices are high and thermostats are set low. This is a great soup to warm the frozen bones and hell, its even pretty low fat, cheap as hell, and can even be made vegetarian if need be.
Musical Pairing: Paradise Lost – Draconian Times. There’s something about this old doomy metal album that is perfect for cloudy and cold winter days. Its simple and almost elegant, its melodic without being a nightmare of symphonic metal garbage and its heavy and still catchy without being commercial. A bit dated at this point in time? Well, yeah sure, but I’m making a potato leek soup which isn’t exactly paving any new culinary ground, so who am I to complain?
3 Lbs Potatoes
7 Sprigs Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
4 C Water
3 C Chicken or Veggie Broth
1/4 C Vermouth
4 TBL Unsalted Butter
2 TSP Kosher Salt
1 TSP Black Pepper
Optional – 4-5 TBL Creme Fraiche and some fresh dill
Procedure: Remove the green tops from the leeks, cut into 1/2” slices and soak in cold water for 5 minutes, or until clean, then strain. In a pressure cooker or large pot over medium high head melt 2 TBL of the butter then add the leeks. Saute for about 4 minutes. Deglaze with the vermouth.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1“ - 1 1/2” pieces. Add the potatoes, thyme, bay leaves, water, broth, salt and pepper to pot. If using a pressure cooker, cover and bring to pressure, let cook pressurized for 10 minutes. If cooking conventionally cook until potatoes are fork tender.
Add as much of the cooked mixture to a blender as you can fit along with a sliver of the reserved butter (most blenders have a removable cap built into the lid, since we are putting hot materials into the blender, you need to remove this cap and cover it with a dish towel or some paper towels so nothing splashes out – it is also through this hole where you will slide the butter slivers while the blender is on), puree for about a minute per batch then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Repeat till you have pureed and strained all your potatoes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Optional: Now, if you taste the soup now, you’ll notice its pretty damn awesome, but if you’re not too concerned with additional calories or fat we can really push it over the edge of amazing. If we add a few table spoons of creme fraiche to it, we can really make it something even more creamy and decadent. Over medium low head, start by adding three table spoons of the creme fraiche and stir it in until it is all melted and incorporated. Give it a taste and determine if it needs more, if so add to it 1 TBL at a time, stir to incorporate and repeat till you love it even more, if you go this route, finely chopped fresh dill is a very good addition as well.
Garnishes: Parsley, chives, bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, creme fraiche, bacon, paprika oil, etc.