Brrr, it’s COLD out there, guys (CA friends, “cold weather” is a natural phenomenon that occurs for about 6 months of the year in most other parts of the country…also, I hate you). How did this happen?
One second it’s sunny and I’m walking around wearing skirts and a light trench, the next second it’s dark/gloomy and I can’t step outside without boots, pants, and a super thick down coat that makes me look like a squishy black marshmallow. Or, if you ask Dan, like a grumpy Eskimo. Lovely.
Polar vortex, get out of here!
It’s a testament to how chilly it is around here that I’ve had soup for lunch every single day this week. And most of last week. That’s right – I, a known soup-hater, have craved and consumed soup daily…and enjoyed it. I don’t even know who I am anymore. But honestly, there’s really nothing like a big steaming bowl of hearty soup and some crusty bread to warm a person up on a cold day.
Because I despise broths, I’ve been sticking with thicker soups and stews – lobster bisque, clam chowder (chowdahhhh), broccoli & cheese, creamy spring asparagus, chicken pot pie, and potato leek soup. All hearty, filling, and satisfying in a warms-you-from-the-inside kind of way. In unrelated news, my work product has taken a dive lately ‘cuz I’m so sleepy and warm in the afternoons.
(Kidding, kidding…sort of.)
My favorite of all my lunch soups so far has been the potato leek soup. I’d never had it before – partly because I was anti-soups, but mostly because I didn’t really know what a leek was and was scared to try it. But you know what? Leeks are super delicious!
And so is potato leek soup. It tastes exactly like buttery, onion-y mashed potatoes in liquid form, and is so creamy and smooth and addicting. I liked it so much that after I had it for lunch one day last week, I went to the store and got all the ingredients to make myself a big pot of it when I got home. Soup for lunch and dinner – that’s who I am now.
Making soup from scratch is a little more involved than just going out to the store and buying a can of Campbell’s, but it’s well worth the effort. The smell of leeks cooking in butter alone was pretty much enough to make the process worthwhile.
And honestly, the making of the soup isn’t hard, it’s the waiting that kills you (or maybe just me). Everything has to simmer and get soft, then you have wait for the cream to thicken, and then the whole thing has to be blended into silky smoothness. All that time spent standing over the stove, drooling and enduring stomach rumblings from all the fabulous smells wafting in your kitchen = pure torture.
But thankfully, after all that torture, the soup turned out really well! Even better than the stuff I got for lunch from the sandwich joint near my office (homemade is always better). My friend Rachel, who was visiting this week, thought it was so good that she ate two bowls for lunch yesterday. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
And, now I can have thick, hearty soup (with bacon) all day every day, which is a good thing because my weather app tells me it’s going to be in the 30s for the foreseeable future. Ugh.
Stay warm, guys! (Buffalo readers – stay safe!)
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced (discard the green leaves, keep the yellow/white stalk part)
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon chicken base
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 6 yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Grated cheese (optional topping)
- Chopped green onion (optional topping)
- Crispy bacon, chopped into bits (optional topping)
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the sliced leeks. Cook, stirring, until they start to soften.
- Heat 4 cups of water, then add your chicken base to the water. Stir to dissolve.
- Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and stir to dissolve.
- Pour the chicken broth mixture into your pot and add the diced potatoes.
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add your heavy cream to the pot, and gently stir to incorporate. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue simmering until your potatoes are tender. (About 20-30 minutes)
- Taste your soup again and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Using a large slotted spoon, scoop out the solid vegetable chunks (as much as you can) into a blender and process lightly until smooth. (If you like your soup chunkier, don't scoop out all the vegetables).
- Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and stir to combine.
- Taste the soup one last time and adjust seasonings to suit your tastes.
- Serve immediately, with bacon, cheese and green onion.
(Slightly adapted from Life Tastes Good’s recipe)