This soup makes me think of Ina Garten. Or is it that Ina Garten makes me thing of this soup? I may have come across her recipe once while browsing a few recipes. I do that a lot just to get some ingredient thoughts and ratio ideas. Looking back on her recipe now (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-potato-leek-soup-recipe-1947137), it does have some similarities. We both use Yukon golds and our potato to leek ratios are the same. She also uses crème fraiche which I probably picked up from her. Either way, for some reason it has a very Ina Garten kind of vibe to it. I can hear “Jeffrey is just going to love coming home to this soup” in my head. My husband, Brett? Probably not and for many reasons. But mostly because I typically would not be making this soup in my own kitchen. I would be making this soup in a client’s kitchen. A very large batch so I can take a deli cup home, wait for natural light the next day, warm it up, take a decent photo, and eat it all up for lunch. So, Brett is probably not ever going to love coming home to this soup. But you might, so give it a try. It’s easy. It’s a large batch but, freezes well. Do some math and scale it down, share it with your loved ones, or have some leftovers. Don’t say you “don’t like leftovers.” Soup makes the best leftovers.
Potato Leek Soup
Yield: about 4 quarts
1 T olive oil
6 oz pancetta, small diced
2 oz butter (1/2 stick)
8 Cups Leeks, whites and light green parts only, sliced thin and rinsed
1 head garlic, cloves only, peeled and smashed
2 bulbs shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 C white wine (I like sauvignon blanc)
4 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
2 Q Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
½ C parmesan cheese
½ C crème fraiche
1-2 C cream
Salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the pancetta until crispy. Remove and reserve on a paper towel lined vessel.
Add the butter, leeks, garlic, shallot, and a pinch of salt to the pot and sauté until slightly tender.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and scrape up any bits from the bottom. Reduce the wine by about half.
Add the potatoes and 2 Q chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low boil and cook until potatoes are very tender. You can cover the pot here to speed up cooking process and reduce liquid evaporation if you’d like.
Using a regular blender or immersion (aka “hand” or “stick”) blender, puree the soup until smooth. If a regular blender is used, you will need to work in batches. Return the soup to the pot when done if using a regular blender. Reduce the heat to low.
Depending on how much liquid evaporated during the cooking process, you may need to add more liquid. Add more chicken stock until the soup reaches desired consistency. If you don’t have any extra stock, water or milk will do. Season with salt to taste.
Finish the soup with the parmesan cheese, crème fraiche, and cream. Add the cream as desired.
Season with salt to taste. Garnish with the reserved pancetta. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Option: Omit the pancetta and olive oil. Just start with the butter and vegetables. Replace the chicken stock with water or low-fat milk. You could use vegetable stock but, most are made with tomatoes and would turn your soup a funky color.