EASY “CREAMY” LEEK POTATO SOUP
Potato and leek soup is a classic French recipe that couldn’t be more comforting on a cold winter day. It’s an easy recipe that requires only a few ingredients. The addition of a bread slice is typical in gazpacho recipes and adds to the “creamy” texture of the soup without using cream. In addition to garnishing the soup with traditional croutons, Jacques Pepin - in his book Chez Jacques - recommends using chopped chervil as a garnish which adds a nice anise taste.
4 medium leeks, white and light-green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced thin (about 4 cups), dark green parts halved, washed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 large slice high-quality sandwich bread, lightly toasted and torn into 1/2-inch pieces
Ground black pepper
1. Bring dark-green leek pieces, broth, and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; set aside. Discard solids in strainer and rinse out saucepan.
2. Melt butter in now-empty saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter foams, stir in sliced leeks, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
3. Increase heat to high, stir in reserved broth, potato, bay leaf, and herb sprig and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add toasted bread and simmer until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove and discard bay leaf and herb sprig. Transfer half of soup to a blender and process until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot (which is probably the best method if you have one).Return soup to saucepan and bring to simmer; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garnish.