Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It is cold. It is snowing. I want to cry. But I don't. Instead, I make soup! I also bake when I am sad and cold but I kind of need a break from sweets, President's Choice has me baking up a storm. I am craving REAL FOOD, aka, homemade soup from scratch. It is so easy! Soup is a great place for people to begin their journey into food and I will show you how!
Now this part can be skipped by those who are either vegetarian or those do not do bacon. There are not a lot of flavours that go into this soup so I wanted to boost them a bit and add a smoky flavour by frying up some lardons of bacon in a little oil. I used the bacon for a garnish at the end.
While the bacon was frying I cleaned and sliced two leeks. I put my soup through a food mill so I did not have to finely slice them but if you are using an immersion blender, you may want to slice yours up more finely than I did.
Remove bacon, put paper towel and reserve until later. If necessary, add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan and then add leeks and a tsp or two of fresh thyme finely minced. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes.
While the leeks are cooking, peel and chop 6 medium potatoes. I had a lot of different kind of potatoes, some starchy, some less starchy, but I decided to rinse them before putting them into the pot. Sometimes this soup can get glue-like because of all that starch. Rinsing them turned out to be a good idea.
Add the potatoes and 3 cups of broth, I used chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and gently cook for 20 minutes. If the soup looks too liquid-y, cook a little longer.
This is what I wanted, about a third of an inch of liquid with potatoes soft and no longer swimming under the soup. You can add some cream or milk at this point or leave as-is. Season to taste.
I put the soup through my food mill but if you do not have one I recommend using a blender but be careful not to overfill it or life will get messy. You could also use an immersion blender for this recipe but you will not get the perfectly smooth consistency.
I lived on this soup for days! When I heated it up, sometimes I added a little cream to help loosen up the soup, sometimes I added broth. I had extra bacon so I hid some inside too.
A nice dollop of sour cream on top with a sprinkle of bacon and you have what tastes like a big bowl of potato and leek comfort reminiscent of a stunning baked potato. Hearty, rustic, rich with flavour... I may end up living on this all winter long.
There is no doubt winter is here. Life is getting more painful than usual but at least it can also be delicious.