Leek and potato soup


2 large leeks
1 lb baking potatoes, such as russets or idaho
4 tbsp butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
croutons 8888
1/2 loaf french or italian bread
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan

How to prepare

Leeks have a great deal of sand between the leaves and must be carefully cleaned. To do this, trim off the root end and cut off and discard the long green stems. Split the leeks lengthwise from the stem end, then turn and split them one more time. Rinse well. Separate the leaves under cold running water, then chop into 1/4-” pieces. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4″ cubes (about 2 cups). Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan; add the onions and the chopped leeks. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until wilted. Do not brown. Add the chicken broth, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf, add the remaining butter and stir. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve piping hot with croutons. For a richer version, stir in 1/2-cup drained plain yogurt or 1/2-cup heavy cream just before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
To make croutons rub the crust of the bread all over with the garlic clove. Cut the bread into 1/8″-thick slices and arrange the slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the oil and the cheese. Broil until golden on both sides, then cut into 1″ squares. Makes about 12 croutons.

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