Junior year of college, there was a period of about three months where I ate Safeway’s Enlightenment brand Potato Leek soup every single day. In highsight, that’s disgusting. The soups come in these little cardboard cups full of salty powder, and all you had to do was add boiling water and wait five minutes. It got to the point where I was eating so much of this stuff that I ended up getting in touch with Safeway’s corporate headquarters and had a case of Potato Leek soups shipped to me. The only reason I stopped eating them was because my one-cup water heater from 1982 crapped out from overuse.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw this post on The Kitchn. I never imagined I could make REAL potato leek soup! And that it would be easy!

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So, okay. The recipe on The Kitchn….just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I’ve had my potato leek palate destroyed by instant powdered soup, but when I first tasted the soup after following their instructions, I was…okay, I’ll say it…I was appalled. So watery! So bland!

Luckily I had a few tricks up my sleeve, and I ended up making something totes delish and, if I do say so myself, far better than the Safeway shizz I used to eat.

Here are MY ingredients:

  • 4 small potatoes or so (but if you’re me, you get nervous that 4 isn’t enough, so you make sure that one of them is abnormally larger than the others
  • A leek. Some leeks? I don’t know if “leek” refers to the individual leaves, or if it’s the whole giant green-onion-looking thing. Put it this way: I went to the grocery store and grabbed the biggest leek (or bundle of leeks) they had. You’ll see what I mean below.
  • Soy milk creamer, or real cream, or if you’re lame then just some regular milk or soy milk
  • Chicken bullion
  • About an eighth of an onion
  • Some garlic, in whatever form you like (mine was paste, as usual)
  • Salt, pepper, and olive oil

Okay, so let me just say that I modified the recipe AFTER I made the one from The Kitchn, so I’m sure there’s a much better way to make it. Still, when all was said and done, I had spent about 15 minutes in my kitchen – just enough time to chop the leeks, peel and dice the potatoes, and puree the soup. And it’s good. REAL good. The other awesome news is that you probably already have everything you need to make this, minus the leek and potato.

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So the way you do this is simple: just chop the leek, discarding the tough green part at the top (yes, that’s like half of it, but trust me, I tried eating that part and the giant cut on the roof of my mouth is a reminder as to why that’s a terrible idea).

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To chop it, just slice the leek into thin discs and roughly cut through those. If you’ve got a blender or a hand blender (like me!), the way you chop it doesn’t matter. But if you’re going to be hand-mashing the soup, then I would make sure that the pieces end up being as thin and small as possible. On a side-note, how gorge is that color? Celery green can suck it; leeks are WAY prettier.

Once the leeks are sliced, stick ’em in a colander and rinse well. You’ll probably find a bit of dirt as you chop, but it’s easy to wash off.

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Yes, I know my colander is gross. I bought it for 25 cents at a garage sale. Anyhoo. After the leeks are rinsed, dump ’em in your soup pot with a goodly glurg of olive oil and turn the heat to medium.

Keep an eye on the the pot, stirring occasionally, while you peel and dice your potatoes. Normally I don’t peel potatoes when a recipe tells me to because it’s somewhat annoying, but I knew I wanted this soup to be creamy and chunks of potato skins would probably eff that up. A word of caution: peel your potatoes over a bowl; NOT over the trash can. Those little buggers get slippery once you get going on them, and they might jump out of your hand and into the trash. And then you’ll have to glance around surreptitiously to make sure nobody is watching, fish the potato out of the trash, rinse it, tell yourself that because you’re boiling it what you’re about to do isn’t foul, and put it in your soup. Shhhhhhhhh. That’s just a hypothetical. I didn’t make soup out of a potato I dropped in the trash. Shhhhhh.

Also, be careful not to accidentally peel off a strip of your left index finger. Also a hypothetical.

Add everything to the pot.

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Add just enough water to cover (be very conservative with the water, or the soup will be pretty bland). Set the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Make sure to check on it at least once during this time to make sure that the water hasn’t reduced too much.

Now, had I known that my soup was going to be bland, I would have added the rest of the ingredients earlier (certainly before blending everything together). But here’s what actually happened: when the soup was done cooking, I added a goodly amount of salt and some pepper and used my hand blender to puree it together. Bitter disappointment ensued.

Scavenging through my kitchen, I dumped some soy creamer into the pot (maybe 2-3 tablespoons) along with a small scoop of Better than Bullion and some garlic. But I wanted more onion flavor. The trouble was that by this point, I had already washed and put away my hand blender. So you KNOW I wasn’t going to get it dirty again. I didn’t want to add chunks of raw onion to the soup, though, because they would take too long to soften.

Then, my friends, I was hit by a flash of brilliance. In the periphery of my vision, a metal gleam caught my eye. My cheese grater! I’m sure I’m not the first person to do this, but I grabbed an onion and began to grate it into my soup! I don’t think I added that much; maybe the equivalent of an eighth of the entire vegetable, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t fix the flavor. The onion bits were small enough that they just melted into the still-hot soup. For good measure, I left it on low heat for another 10 minutes (which is why putting all of the extra crap in before cooking the soup would be a good idea).

Et voila, a delicious, easy lunch with enough leftover to feed me and Dave tonight.

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I was lamenting not having any turkey bacon on hand, though. The next time I make this recipe, I’m going to cook four slices of turkey bacon in the pot before sauteeing the leeks. Then when the soup is done, I’ll put a slice or two of bacon into each bowl, sticking out so that it looks pretty. Oh well. Shoulda woulda coulda. This was still amazing, and I’m glad Dave will finally be able to eat something creamy without turning into a lactard and getting all F&B.

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