Easy Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek soup always intimidated me. I think because Julia Child and Potato Leek Soup are connected in my mind, I always assumed the soup was an elaborate and difficult one like so many French recipes. I was so very, very wrong. This is the easiest soup ever! If you’re ever in need of a quick dinner that involves very little effort and prep, make this soup. It’s the kind of recipe that involves chopping a few things, throwing them in water, and then reading a book or doing your taxes for an hour while it cooks. This is one of my favorite types of recipes: the lazy ones. Others in this category?  My favorite breakfast dish: Steel Cut Oats. These are the perfect types of recipes to always keep in the back of your mind, things you can throw together at very little notice and still have time to shower before your friends arrive. They’re the basic white T-shirts of the cooking world!

 

Potato Leek Soup | Land of Laurel

 

A little while ago I was struck by the urge to make Potato Leek Soup. My Uncle Scott and Aunt Karolyn had made a big pot soon after Thanksgiving when some relatives and I visited them in Davis. I was impressed and intrigued. It’s been in the back of my mind ever since. So I picked up my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and flipped to Julia’s Potato Leek Soup. What do you know, there on the page, something along the lines of: “Chop these things. Throw them in water. Go take a shower and read a chapter of your book.” Thanks, Julia! After glancing at the recipe for less than a minute. I grabbed my keys and hit up Berkeley Bowl.

 

After I gathered my ingredients, I didn’t even bother looking at the recipe again. The measurements for this type of recipe you can fudge any which way. Perfect! I threw some potatoes in my Staub pot. I threw some leeks in too. I poured water over everything. Then I turned to my spices and went a little crazy, because #YOLO. And recipes are boring unless you spice things up a little. Below you’ll find my tweaks to this classic dish.

 

Potato Leek Soup and Fred | Land of Laurel

 

POTATO LEEK SOUP

 

Ingredients

6 medium-sized organic russet potatoes

2 stalks of organic leeks

2 quarts water

1 teaspoon organic nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon organic paprika

1/4 cup chopped fresh organic sage

1 teaspoon pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt

 

Recipe

First wash, peel, and cut your potatoes into pieces no large than 1.5″. Then slice your leeks into rounds approximately 0.5″ thick. Place both vegetables into a 4-6 quart pot and add water (the liquid should cover the vegetables, but just barely). Add nutmeg, paprika, salt, and pepper and bring to a soft boil. Once the water bubbles, reduce heat to low and let cook until vegetables dissolve, about 40-60 mins, stirring occasionally. Use a spoon to help the vegetables integrate into the liquid. Chop your sage in the meantime and sprinkle into soup, saving some for garnish. Taste soup and add additional salt as needed. Serve immediately.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

It’s winter in California which means it’s 60 degrees and sunny, but for all of us Californians it’s freezing. We’re cold. Very cold. We talk about it a lot and dream of early March when temperatures will hit the 70s again. It’s truly miserable here on the west coast. Pity us. Sure the east coast may get blizzards and snow, but we have days in the 50s! It’s real extreme, y’all!

 

Anyways, this cold spell has me drinking tea like a fish drinks water (constantly) and dreaming of soup. Because tea and soup are the only things that can warm my frozen heart fingers. My friend Katharine came to visit for a few days in late January. We’ve known each other since my sophomore year of college, fenced together on a varsity team, and then I basically lived at her house my senior year. We’ve spent a bit time together, you could say. While she was here we thought about going out drinking and dancing, but it was raining sprinkling and that seemed like so much unnecessary effort. Instead we hit up Berkeley Bowl (my home away from home! ❤ ) Berkeley Bowl is an institution here in the East Bay. Did you know Michael Pollan shops there?! I have friends who’ve seen him. I’ve read all of his books. I agree with everything he says. He’s pretty much my religion. BRB I’ll just be camping out in the produce section for the next month. I’m totally not a stalker, I’m just completely obsessed with him. There’s a difference, okay?!

 

Anywho, Katharine and I decided to make some butternut squash soup. I’d been craving it lately and it seemed like the perfect season. When we arrived at Berkeley Bowl, right out front was a pile of the organic gourds all on sale. Score! We headed home, made our soup, and contentedly watched Netflix for the remainder of our evening. She’s my friend match-made-in-heaven I tell you. Anyone who wants to stay in on a weekend is my kind of gal!

 

Our soup came out wonderfully. It is incredibly butternut squash-y. That sounds silly, but somehow the soup made the butternut squash taste amazingly like itself and oh so good. The flavor is very pure and not disguised by any ingredient. It’s a very thick soup, perfect for an entree, though you could thin it a bit if you wanted to serve it as an appetizer.

 

Butternut Squash Soup | Land of Laurel

 

Thick Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

Serves four to six.

Vegan, Gluten Free

 

Ingredients:

 

3.5 lbs organic butternut squash (one medium and one small squash)

1 organic red onion

1 organic carrot

1/2 organic white onion

3 organic stalks celery

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch organic fresh sage

1 quart organic vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon organic thyme

salt

pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

cooking oil as needed

 

Directions:

 

First pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, start making a mirepoix. Chop the celery, white onion, and carrot finely into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch. Place into a hot cast iron pan or an enameled cast iron dutch oven with a tablespoon and a half of olive oil. Add thyme, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, and a few pinches each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. You want the entire thing to sweat.

 

Mirepoix | Land of Laurel

 

While that starts to get flavorful, begin cutting your butternut squash and red onion into pieces about an inch wide. Place the squash and onions on two cookie sheets (careful not to crowd) and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil, a dash of salt, a liberal amount of pepper, and the remaining paprika. Place the the sheets in the oven for 20 to 25 mins or until a fork can be inserted into the squash without resistance. When they’re done they should look a little toasted. The squash should be a bright orange and the onions should be a faded purple-y brown.

 

Butternut Squash and Red Onion | Land of Laurel

 

When they squash and red onion is done, leave to rest and turn of the oven. Uncover the mirepoix (you should have been stirring every now and then this entire time). If you’ve been using a cast iron pan, it’s time to get out a large stock pot and add the liquid. You should be able to just add water to the mirepoix, but I had a container of vegetable broth that I wanted to use, so I added this instead. If you are adding plain water be sure you have liberally salted the mirepoix. Add the roasted butternut squash and red onion to your pot and stir. Everything should be cooked at this point, but bring everything to a boil to let the flavors intermingle. Once it’s boiled reduce to low heat.

 

I fried my sage to make it more exciting. Take a small pot or sauce pan and add about an inch of oil. Remove sage leaves from stems. When your oil is quite hot gently toss in sage leaves one at a time. They should fizzle in the oil, when the cease to fizzle, count to ten before removing them and placing the fried leaves on a clean towel. The leaves should brown in the oil. When you’ve fried each leaf, turn your attention back to the soup.

 

Fried Sage | Land of Laurel

 

Now for my favorite part! Your soup should be looking like this:

 

Butternut Squash Soup | Land of Laurel

 

It’s perfectly edible and delicious this way, but I am a huge fan of a much smoother texture. Which leads me to my favorite kitchen tool – the IMMERSION BLENDER! I love immersion blending things! It’s literally the most fun thing ever invented. You can blend a smoothie in it’s cup! You can blend soups in the pot! We’ll do the latter. Get out your immersion blender and go. to. town. It’s delightful! Once your soup is good and blended you’ll be able to truly tell how thick this soup really is. If it’s too think for your liking, now is a good point to add water or vegetable stock to the thin it down. Just simply stir it in. I didn’t feel this was necessary, because the soup was to be my entree and hey, I like a thick soup!

 

Now, crumble the majority of your sage into your soup and stir it in. Be sure to save a bit for garnish!

 

Thick Butternut Squash Soup with Sage | Land of Laurel

 

Serve and enjoy!

 

Delicious Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage | Land of Laurel

 

Have you made soup recently? Waiting out the cold weather with hot liquids? Live somewhere warm and want to let me crash on your couch for two months? Let me know!