Thursday, 20 November 2014

Potato Leek Soup

This can be a crazy time of year.  School is in full swing, everyone seems to be in some kind of after school activity and don't even get me started on how Christmas is around the corner.  We used to be a very low key family and in many ways we still are.  But now that both kids and my husband are in activities and I have taken a part time job, suddenly life has gotten exponentially busier.  There are nights of the week that I need simple recipes that are easy and quick to cook but don't compromise on quality.  Soup is always the winner.   

Back in 1997 I spent the summer living in Smithers BC working on a sheep farm as a nanny, cook and gardener.  The family that I worked for had one of the most beautiful kitchens that I have ever seen complete with a catering fridge.  The mum of the house had been a caterer and was passionate about food.  Being able to cook was part of the job requirement and while I was only 22 years old at the time I was already in love with food and cooking.  That summer I learned how to make all kinds of wonderful things, and I got paid to do it which was the best part.  But of all the things I cooked that summer, it was this potato leek soup that I am most grateful that I learned how to make.  It has always been my fall back when I need something quick and cheap to make; good food doesn't need to cost a fortune.  My kids love it and if you make a bit extra you can put it in their Thermos for lunches the next day.  It is full of flavor and with a green salad and some bread and cheese it is the perfect fall supper.

Potato Leek Soup

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Drizzle of olive oil
2 Leeks sliced
1 onion diced
1 garlic clove diced
2 carrots peeled diced
2 stalks celery diced
2 potatoes diced
pinch of fresh or dried thyme if you have it
Salt and pepper to taste
1 liter chicken or vegetable stock 
1/4 cup milk

Wash and trim your leeks.  To do this, cut the very end of the leek off as well as the dark green ends.  Split the leek in half and make sure that there isn't any sand in between the layers.  Slice into half-moons.  Dice the onion, garlic and celery.  Heat up a soup pot on medium head and melt the butter and oil. Add the leeks, onions and garlic and saute until soft.  Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 5 minutes.  Finally add the potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add enough stock so that you cover the vegetables, you don't want this drowning in liquid.  Cook partially covered until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat and blend with an immersion blender.  If you don't have one of these (please get one, it will save you a lot of grief in the kitchen) transfer in batches to a blender and blend until smooth.  Bring the pot back to a low heat and stir in the milk.  Serve with some crusty bread, cheese and a salad.  

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