2 large leeks or onions
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 lb potatoes
2 pints water
salt and pepper
Sauté the leeks in the butter until meltingly tender, add the peeled and chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes to let the flavors deepen.
Add the stock and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Puree in the blender for a fancier soup or leave chunky for a rustic version. Finish with a little cream, chopped parsley, chives, or tarragon.
This segues into the classic Potato Leek. Finely slice 4 leeks and rinse thoroughly to remove grit. Melt 2 oz. sweet butter and sauté leeks and 1 medium onion until translucent. Add 5 potatoes, peeled and diced, one quart of chicken stock, salt and pepper. (I always use a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf to round out the flavors.) Simmer until tender. Puree in food processor. Finish with a little cream and chopped chives.
Variations to add to the leek and potato base:
- A handful of canned plum tomatoes becomes Fortuny, a velvety pale tomato soup. Garnish with fresh basil or marjoram
- A few parsnips, a knob of fresh chopped ginger and a clove of garlic become Ginger Parsnip. Garnish with home-made croutons.
- A small butternut squash and a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon add a bit more spice and wintry depth to Butternut Squash Puree. And it’s always nice to have a crusty French baguette for dipping.