Everyone always asks me, what is your specialty? Or what is your favorite thing to cook? I’ll usually reply with something like, “I enjoy cooking more than baking” or “I just like being in the kitchen.” I don’t give a straight answer because I don’t have one. Mostly, I’ll simply answer, “everything.” But one thing I will say, when it comes to my favorite things to cook, soups are at the top of my list.
Building layers in the pot, starting with the basics and working up to the complexities, stirring it up, tasting, adjusting, making it perfect; it’s so many of the things that I love about cooking, all in one simmering pot of liquid goodness. From elaborate crystal clear consommé, to the most uncomplicated puree soup like this simple potato leek, I enjoy the comfort that soup brings me when I’m making it and when I’m eating it.
Soups are on everyone’s mind at this time of year. There is really nothing quite as cozy on a chilly day than a stick-to-your-ribs potage to warm you from the inside. This is a classically prepared vichyssoise, only not-so-classically, I serve it hot. It’s smooth, flavorful, substantial, and I feel, just a little homier when ladled into a bowl with some steam coming off the top. It’s always a crowd-pleaser as I’m pretty sure that most people can agree that anything potato is amazing.
Garnish this soup with a few snipped chives or make it baked potato-style with sour cream, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheddar on top. Another great thing I love about soup? A pot can make enough for a crowd, plus enough for lunch the next day, and maybe even the day after that. So enjoy it any and all ways, each time you reheat.
P.S. If you'd like, please check out the Media page for my recently published article on “The Healthiest Meal on Long Island.” Thanks. :-)
Potato Leek Soup
Yield: 10 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large leeks, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 ½ pound potatoes, peeled & diced
- 2 ½ quarts chicken broth or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 oz half-and-half
- Snipped chives
- Salt and pepper, to taste
• Heat the oil in a large pot. Sweat the leeks, celery and onion until tender and translucent.
• Add the potatoes, stock and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes begin to fall apart, about 25-30 minutes. Discard the 2 bay leaves.
• Puree the soup until smooth in a blender. Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Remove from the heat and finish with the half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately topped with snipped chives.