Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Potato Leek Soup

I have discovered a creamy delicious soup that is not as unhealthy as you might think. Usually when we think of cream soups, heavy cream or half in half come to mind, if not milk. I had some leeks on hand and needed a soup that was dairy free. This soup is very satisfying and a perfect balance between hearty and healthy. I didn't miss the milk at all in this tasty soup, perfect for lunch or dinner.
If you aren't familiar with leeks, it is very important that you clean them well. They are very dirty and gritty throughout. I suggest soaking whole, then slicing vertically into quarters and rinsing multiple times before chopping, then rinsing again in a colander. I know it sounds extreme, but it is necessary. The first time I cooked with leeks I thought I had cleaned them well only to discover grit in my finished product. Never again. I encourage you to give this flavorful simple soup a try.

 2 large leeks, cut lengthwise, separated and cleaned. Discard the darker green tops and chop leeks.
2 to 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, or regular butter
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 to 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons, if using fresh
Dash of Tabasco sauce, if desired
Salt and pepper

Melt butter over low heat in a 4 to 5 quart saucepan
Add leeks some salt and pepper, cover and gently cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on low, taking care not to burn the leeks. They do not need to be browned.
Add water, broth and potatoes. Bring to a low boil and cook, loosely covered for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Add thyme, a little more salt and pepper, if desired and half of the parsley.
Stir and remove about half of the soup mixture, placing it into a blender.
Puree and return to pot.
Add remaining parsley and a dash or two of Tabasco, if desired.
Stir and serve.

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