Roasted Potato Leek Soup – ChatterRecipe February 2013

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Leek and Potatoes in Ladle  James Jackson / Food And Drink Photos Ltd

I know, I seem to have a thing about “roasted” vegetables right now but I really do love the way “roasting” brings out the flavors of each vegetable. Last month we gave you oven-roasted vegetables to accompany your roast, and this time, I’m going with a Roasted Potato Leek Soup. For one thing, it is bitterly cold right now in New York as I prepare this newsletter, so the most natural thought was to have a recipe for something warming, like a nice hearty soup. And then, it’s also the month of February, and Valentine’s Day, and my father’s birthday, and as I reflect I find myself thinking back to my parents… In their younger more “happily married” days, they were quite social creatures – Aquarius is the most social sign of the zodiac after all, and my father certainly was that, while my mother was a Cancer, who are literally the homebodies. And, since we lived in the countryside, we didn’t eat out much at all, that was a rare treat. So it was more commonplace to stay at home and have dinner parties.

Now I’ve told you before that my father loved his food, he came from a food-obsessed family, and it drove my mother crazy! He could be very critical and wanted things done “his” way, especially when it came to culinary execution. Thus my mother was quite intimidated by him in the kitchen and cooking was not necessarily the pleasurable pastime that it might have been for most Cancers. And for some reason, I find myself flashing back to my mother making Vichyssoise, the good old-fashioned way, before anyone had blenders or food processors! In order to make a perfectly smooth and creamy soup, you had to pass it through a sieve, or a hand-mill! A very laborious task and not one that my dear mother particularly enjoyed! This slightly updated recipe comes courtesy of one of my go-to-girls, Ian Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa.

And many thanks for this month’s image which comes courtesy of Mark Butler at the UK-based stock agency Food and Drink Photos, one of the world’s leading suppliers of food and drink images. Be sure to visit their website to see their extensive range of images!

Ingredients:

2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled 7 cut into ¾ inch cubes)

Leeks (washed thoroughly of all the sand, drained and chopped both white & light green parts)

¼ cup Olive Oil

Salt & Black Pepper

3 cups Baby Arugula (lightly packed)

½ cup Dry White Wine (plus some extra)

6-7 cups Chicken Stock (homemade if possible, could substitute with Vegetable Stock)

¾ cup Heavy Cream

8 oz Crème Fraîche

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the Potatoes and Leekson a sheet pan in a single layer, and then add the Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon Salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper and toss with your hands to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the Baby Arugula and toss to combine. [Now, I happen to love Arugula, but if it’s not your cup of tea, leave it out and maybe add a little Spinach, or simply use a few more Leeks and Potatoes. Certainly a classic Leek & Potato Soup doesn’t normally include Arugula!] Roast the vegetables for a further 4 to 5 minutes until the Arugula is wilted. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and place on top of the stove covering 2 burners. Stir in the Dry White Wine and 1 cup of the Chicken Stock and cook over low heat scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the Roasted Vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or a blender if you don’t own a food processor) adding the pan liquid, plus about another 5 cups Chicken Stock to make a puree. Pour into a large pot or Dutch oven, and continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they’re all done and combined in the large pot. Add just enough of the remaining cups of Stock to make a nice thick soup. Add in the Heavy CreamCrème Fraîche, 2 more teaspoons Salt and 1 teaspoon Black Pepper and season to taste. When ready to serve, re-heat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons Dry White Wine and the Parmesan Cheese. Serve hot with extra grated Parmesan Cheese and some Crispy Shallots(optional), which are really simple to prepare.

For the Crispy Shallots (optional):

5-6 Shallots (peeled and sliced into thin rings)

1½ cups Vegetable or Olive Oil

Unsalted Butter

Paper towels or a sheet of brown paper

Peel and slice about 5 to 6 Shallots and cut into thin rings. Heat a combination of 1½ cups Vegetable or Olive Oil along with 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter in a saucepan and cook the Shallots for about 30 to 40 minutes until they are golden brown. Stir occasionally to make sure they cook evenly, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or a sheet of brown paper. Once they have been dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.

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