When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Soup and Salad
My mom’s nickname was “Irish.” Her father was Emerson Carey, how much more Irish is that? She told us she was 95% Irish and 5% Scottish, and I know her favorite holiday was St. Patrick’s Day. When I learned Ireland has a deal where you can obtain dual citizenship and move there if your grandparents were from Ireland, I looked into it. Imagine how disappointed I was to learn that my grandparents were born in Kansas. No Irish retirement for us.
Anyway, my mom made the best potato leek soup … warm, velvety, creamy. This may even have been the recipe that cinched the deal with my step-father, Mr. C. Yes, it can be served cold, but we prefer it warm. Her recipe had four ingredients and was very simple to make. It is so good, I don’t know why I don’t make this more often.
Recently, I came across a really nice photo of a green potato leek soup. Apparently the “secret” is to add a handful of fresh or frozen peas to the soup for the greener color. Not that my mom’s recipe needed improvement but I love peas! Tom claims he hates peas, but I won’t tell him if you don’t!My mom used to “make” her broth using Knorr chicken bouillon cubes. I like to “make” chicken broth with Roasted Chicken Better Than Bouillon. Add 1 teaspoon per cup of broth. Of course, if you make your own chicken broth, KUDOS to you! You can also lighten this recipe substantially by leaving the cream out. Since we are all still in our yoga pants … Wait … am I the only one?
You can blend the soup in a blender, but after having a soup explosion that burned my hands, my mom bought me an immersion blender, which is the only way I blend soup nowadays.
Season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper (I use lots of white pepper). Garnish with sour cream, chives, croutons, crispy bacon or pancetta. This soup is even better the next day if you can wait that long.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium or large leeks, cleaned and sliced, white part only
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
½ cup frozen peas
4 cups (32 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons Roasted Chicken Better Than Bouillon (optional)
1 cup (8 oz.) whipping cream
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
Sour cream thinned with milk
Stir 4 teaspoons Roasted Chicken Better Than Bouillon into one cup of broth and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the leeks until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the potatoes, the reserved broth and the remaining three cups of chicken broth. (If necessary, add more chicken broth or water to cover the veggies.) Cover and simmer over low heat until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Add the peas and simmer until defrosted.
Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Return to low heat and stir in the cream.