Monday, November 4, 2013

Potato and Leek Soup (no GMOs in my soup)

I'd been thinking about potato-leek soup ever since a friend of mine made some last week. All he had wanted to get at the market were leeks and potatoes, which for one thing surprised me because how does anyone go to the farmers market with only two vegetables in mind?  It also made me wonder how his soup had turned out. 

"How did you cook it?" I asked, when I saw him at the market.  "What recipe did you use?"

"I always used Julia Child's recipe.  I can watch them on the PBS series," he said.   Years ago, Julia Child had a PBS series, and my friend said he'd bought the series when they were in VHS format.   Remember that?

"You still have a VHS machine?  Oh, I'm sorry," I said as I burst out laughing.  Maybe the tapes still playing is a testament to how long some things from the 70s last.  Also it's a good thing my friend has a sense of humor.  Luddite humor--what can I say? 

The recipe my friend described was incredibly simple. Water, leeks, potatoes, he'd said.  After all the muffins I've been making lately, I'm ready for simplicity in the kitchen. 

Finding leeks and potatoes for soup was my goal at the market this week. 

The Market

Rain and wind were fierce and some vendors hung onto their tents as the winds picked up.   It was just about the worst weather ever for the the market, which actually closed early due to the high winds.  But we had fun while we were there. 

I snapped a picture of this sign. Every farmer I know is voting yes for GMO labeling. I don't know where the opposition found those people posing as farmers on the TV ads, but the yes ads actually have real farmers who truthful food labels.  

I'd like to know if the tomatoes I'm reaching for have fish genes inserted. Tomorrow is the day. Go cast a yes vote for food labels and say no to big business running our food system.  New labels won't raise your food prices.

These potato carvings from Olsen's Farms were too cool not to post.   Apparently long ago, kids in Ireland used  to carve potatoes and turnips before they carved faces into pumpkins. 

Buying market potatoes is a treat because I don't get them every week.  Olsen's has a wide variety, and I couldn't recall which type of potato the soup recipes called for but my friend had gotten some nice russets, so that's what I got--about 5 medium-size potatoes.

Leeks are a treat too because as far as onions go, leeks are pricey. I found organic leeks at Alm Hill for $2 each, so I got two, hoping to make those work for the soup, which should be a budget meal.

Leeks are in the onion family and so they are toxic to dogs.  My Cooking Assistant isn't impressed anyway.

The Recipe

I don't have the Julia Child's PBS series, plus I wondered how much butter Julia used, so when I got home, I thumbed through cookbooks.  I'm amazed at the number of cookbooks that don't list potato-leek soup as a recipe.  Did everyone think it was too common and decided to exclude it?  It seems common enough.  

I found this one in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone.   A side bar says her recipe is a farmhouse version of these two humble vegetables simmered in water. I love the simplicity of it.  She had a number of variations on the side, but I decided to add sauteed mushrooms and a sprinkling of parsley, both proved excellent additions.

Here's the recipe:

Potato and Leek Soup
(Serves 6)

2 cups sliced organic leeks (about 2 medium leeks)
2 tablespoons organic canola oil or ghee (clarified butter)
2 stalks organic celery diced
2 cups peeled, diced organic potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon chopped Mama Lil's peppers (optional)
5 cups water
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat.  Add leeks and oil.  Stir and cook for a few minutes, or until leeks begin to soften.   Add celery, potatoes and Mama Lil's peppers. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

2. Add water and garlic.  Stir, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until potatoes begin falling apart.  Use an immersion blender to create a creamy texture. 

3. Dry from the shiitake mushrooms for a few minutes, then add a little oil, stir and cook, until mushrooms soften.   Add mushrooms to the soup.  

4. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste, then ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley.  

My Cooking Assistant isn't making any pretence about what he prefers.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Those are the cutest potatoes ever. Finn you look like you are having fun today, Max is taking a nap, which sounds like a great idea. Debra, I love potato leek soup, we still have fresh potatoes from our garden, they are so good. Hope you are having a great day and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon
Miz Helen