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Leek & Potato Soup with Garlic Toast

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Serves four.

Yields about 8 cups soup.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 53

  • 2 lb. leeks (about 3; dark green tops discarded), sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick (about 3 cups)
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 large), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 3 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth; more if needed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt; more to-taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch chili powder
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 small French baguette
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

Separate the sliced leeks into rings and soak in a big bowl of cool water for a few minutes to let the grit settle to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop them out carefully and drain.

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, potatoes, and celery seed and sauté until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add the broth, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a steady simmer over medium low. Cover and cook until the leeks and potatoes are quite soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the milk; return to a gentle simmer.

Working in batches, purée briefly in a blender. If the soup is too thick, whisk in more broth until it reaches the consistency you like.

Meanwhile, make the garlic toast: Adjust an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler to high. Cut the baguette into sharply diagonal slices about 1/2-inch thick (they should be long, narrow slices). Put the bread on a baking sheet, firmly rub both sides with the garlic halves, brush both sides with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil until the bread is toasted and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

Taste the soup for seasonings and serve immediately with the garlic toast.

Serving Suggestions

This makes a good weekday supper with a salad like the Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon, Walnuts & Goat Cheese.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 580; Fat (g): fat g 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 87; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 910; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 35; Fiber (g): fiber g 8;

A very good rendition of the classic potato-leek soup. Seasoned to taste with a bit more salt, pepper and chili powder, the celery seed highlights the flavor of the leeks. I puréed about three cups of the soup and returned it to the pot for a chunkier texture. A lovely classic soup overall. And don't forgo the garlic toast.

Has potential but lacks flavor. Texture is good. Instructions were clear. To help liven this recipe up, I found it made a huge difference to start with a saute of bacon or pancetta (about 4 slices, possibly more), add a shot of tabasco, and some white pepper. I also substituted a half cup of a nice Sauvignon Blanc for the same amount of broth. In the future, I would also consider adding another aromatic, like garlic or shallot, to the base. Finishing with a sprinkling of fresh Italian parsley also helped. Garlic toast, of course, is always amazing; I found simply laying some sliced, lightly smoked Provolone on top of the bread slices and broiling lightly added some character to the meal, although some might find this a bit over the top. Recipe needed tweaking, but I found it very helpful for basic technique.

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