Ready to try a soup that’s not made with a roux? Leek and potato soup is delicious and easy to make in under an hour. According to Mobilian Eugene Walter—novelist, cookbook author and family friend—in his book Hints and Pinches, leeks were grown in Gulf Coast regions prior to World War II, but then fell out of favor.
The health-conscious have made leeks trendy in recent years because they’re rich in vitamins K and A. Leeks are in the onion family, but not nearly as strong. Walter advises choosing fresh leeks with the largest white portion as these are the mildest.
This soup is so hearty that we’re labeling it an entree, not an appetizer. Serve with a warm loaf of French bread.
3 lbs. fresh leeks
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 medium yellow potatoes
1 32-ounce carton chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper for the New Orleans palate
Chopped green onions for garnish, if desired.
Step by Step:
1) Cut off root ends. Cut leeks into ¼-inch coins. Use only white and pale green parts.
2) Place leeks in colander and wash carefully under cool running water as dirt tends to get between the coils of the leeks.
3) Melt butter in a soup pan over low heat.
4) Cook chopped leeks in butter over medium heat, stirring vigilantly until soft, about 8 minutes.
5) Peel potatoes and chop into chunks.
6) Add chopped potatoes into pot with leeks
7) Add 32-ounce carton of chicken broth
8) Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes, depending on size and shape of potatoes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
9) Turn off heat.
10) Scoop with a ladle into a blender, filling half-way to top. Make sure you get some liquid in each batch. Puree. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Repeat 2 or 3 times depending on size of blender. We puree ours completely until the soup is thick and smooth. Others prefer to leave small chunks of potatoes and leeks. Experiment and see what you like.
11) Return soup to pot over low heat. Add half and half and seasonings.*Garnish with chopped green onions.
*You may substitute margarine for butter, vegetable broth for chicken broth and milk for half and half.