Potato Leek Soup
Potato leek soup is a classic french recipe that's been done countless times. My spin on it is the addition of a little bit of jalapeno, some lemon and some wine. I tend to want to chuck a lot of things into one pot, but I really exercised a lot of restraint here. I think the simple approach really paid off.
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 lb leeks, halved, then sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
32 ounces vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups whole milk, half and half or cream
2 tbls olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 big handfuls parsley, chopped well
1 tsp salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 bay leaves
The thing about leeks is you have to clean them well. They get a lot of soil and grit trapped in them as they grow. Cut them in half. Discard the out leaves and rinse thoroughly.
In a very large stock pot sweat the leeks in the olive oil. Slowly cook them down over a low flame until they're tender and fragrant, about 15 minutes.
Add jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper. Sweat 3 more minutes.
Add broth, potatoes, lemon juice, lemon zest, wine, bay leaves. Bring to a boil and continue on a low boil until potatoes are very tender. About 15-20 minutes.
Turn off heat. Use a potato masher to break up the spuds until you have a lumpy soup.
Add the milk and parsley. Simmer on medium low 5 minutes to heat the milk and further soften the mixture.
Now you have a choice. You can whisk and serve as a lumpy, but delicious soup. You can, if you have one, use a fine mesh strainer (chinois) to create a very smooth soup. Or you can use an immersion blender to puree it a little bit.
Using a blender with potatoes is a no-no. It turns them gluey and gloopy. But just a 10-15 second buzz is a pretty safe and easy way to and create a much nicer texture without any fancy french doodads.