Cooking legend Julia Child put it best: "There is hardly a man alive who does not adore soup, particularly when it is homemade. Hot soup on a cold day, cold soup on a hot day, and the smell of soup simmering in the kitchen are fundamental, undoubtedly even atavistic, pleasures and solaces that give a special kind of satisfaction."
Yes, filling my family's bellies with warm soup on a winter's night is about as good as it gets. I don't love living in the cold, but I absolutely love cooking in the winter, just because of the endless possibilities of soup! My husband, Shane, gave me Julia Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I thought I'd break it in with one of my favorite dishes, Leek and Potato Soup:
Just a couple of notes: Leeks are a little hard to find, but bring fantastic flavor! I add leeks to any veggie soup I can. To prepare the leeks, I cut off the ends and the dark green stems, keeping only the very light green and white ends. I slice these sections crosswise and clean the leeks by dumping them in a big bowl of cold water.
Another thought: dinnertime is always a little chaotic, so I really try to take some pressure off by chopping up the veggies the night before. I stick them in the fridge, submerged with water, so the potatoes stay fresh. Ooh, I love pulling out the veggies all ready to go the next day.
So, here's the recipe!
3 to 4 cups potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 quarts of water
1 tablespoon salt (I use coarse salt)
4 to 6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons minced parsley or chives
Simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered for 40 to 50 minutes.
Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork, or pass the soup through a food mill (how I wish that I had a food mill...maybe next Christmas!). Correct seasoning. Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to a simmer. (I had to add a bit more water, so the consistency was more soup and less mashed potatoes)
Off heat and just before serving, stir in the cream by spoonfuls. Pour into bowls and decorate with herbs.
Just add a toasty baguette, some nice cheese, and some fresh fruit, and you have a beautiful French supper, perfect for a blustery winter's night!