Do you ever order soup in cafes or restaurants? Excluding Asian-style tom yum, pho or wonton soups, that is.
Ordering soup when eating out seems rather strange to me - it's not quite a meal, if you know what I mean. I think the only time I've had soup was as an accompaniment to a sandwich, though it was more of an afterthought, in case the sandwich wasn't enough.
Anyway, I came across some lovely, thin leeks the other day and decided to make leek and potato soup. And rather than trawling through my hundreds of magazines for a recipe, I looked up my well-thumbed copy of Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. It's a fantastic reference for all types of food, and I've found it particularly useful for finding out how to select, store and prepare items that you don't normally buy, eg. how long can you store pomegranates for, and how can you tell if that pear is a good one? Brilliant!
Leek and Potato Soup
2 tblsp olive oil
6 small leeks, washed and sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, sliced
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig of thyme
Salt and pepper, to season
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add leeks, potatoes, onion, celery and garlic, then lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the leek has softened.
2. Barely cover the vegetables with cold water, then add the thyme. Simmer, uncovered, until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the thyme and blend or puree the soup (in a blender or with a stick mixer) until the soup is very smooth.
4. Season well with salt and pepper. Note: There is not a lot of flavour in the soup, so be sure to taste it and season accordingly.
5. To serve, reheat to boiling. The soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.
Recipe adapted from the cook's companion
Lots of rustic ingredients, including onion, celery, potato and thyme
After blending the soup till it's smooth, serve with crusty bread
Blackboard special - today only!